Harbour authorities and port operators are being urged to seek the greatest expert advice in the UK’s newly released ‘Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations’.
To give its full title, ‘A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations – Prepared in conjunction with the Port Marine Safety Code 2016 – Moving Britain Ahead’ has been issued by the Department for Transport and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
The 193-page document may have a number of implications for your business about how to achieve best practice in such areas as Marine Safety Management Systems, risk assessment, marine services, emergency preparedness and response, pilotage and navigation.
It includes a section about ‘Consultants and External Advice’ which details the role of specialists in a number of roles, including risk assessment and safety management.
Section 4.2.27 to 4.2.29 of the influential document, sets out how consultants can act as trusted guides through the maze of guidelines.
It states: “The aim is to use sufficient expertise to secure a good outcome.
“The risk assessment and safety management system needs to be thorough, comprehensive and relevant, to the physical constraints of the port or facility and the type, size, and frequency of shipping handled.”
It continues: “Consultants are especially useful for the hazard identification stage of formal risk assessment.
“They should apply a systems approach to the problem and not a situational approach which would normally be used by stakeholders close to the problem.
“Consultants will also encourage the inclusion of the widest range of stakeholders possible (especially external stakeholders) in the identification process.”
The guide gives harbour authorities the options of undertaking the risk assessment process and development of a safety management system in-house, employing consultants or a mixed approach entirely
It states: “An external consultant is likely to be best employed as a facilitator.
“In this way, the commitment of management, the contribution by port users, and the consequential sense of ownership should be unaffected by the use of an external risk assessment expert.”
At TMG, we have extensive knowledge and experience built up over many year and know just how important it is to apply the right expertise at the right time – and at the right cost.
We have a global network of experienced and highly respected partners which have allowed us to successfully support many ports, harbours and operational projects worldwide.
Our Managing Director Malcolm Parrott said: “This new guide is an invaluable tool for harbour authorities and operators of ports, marine berths, terminal and jetties.
“It is a substantial document full of pertinent advice and useful recommendations which needs to be thoroughly understood and acted upon where appropriate.
“At TMG, we believe it is important to raise awareness about the importance of this document. Our experts are also on hand to discuss any elements of the guide or develop individual solutions in support of the document for ports directly or through companies supporting port operations.”
The cost of non-compliance with the Code can be high. The new guide includes extracts from the successful prosecution of a harbour authority under health and safety law – demonstrating the importance that courts place on authorities or organisations adopting industry best practice.
Part of the indictment reads: “You failed to provide a safe system of work in that you did fail to provide a Safety Management System to reduce to a level as low as reasonably practicable the risks associated with marine operations in the Harbour Area, in terms of the Port Marine Safety Code”
It goes on: “(You) failed to appoint a suitable individual or individuals to share the function of ‘Designated Person’ to provide you as the duty holder with independent assurance that your Safety Management System was working effectively and to audit your compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code.”
We will also be examining different elements of the new Guide on a monthly basis to explore how they can be best applied for businesses and organisations in the ports sector.