Health and safety

We believe that an engaging and safe working environment at sea and on shore is a prerequisite to an efficient, sustainable and profitable business. We conduct our business with respect for human rights and labour standards, including conventions and guidelines related to the prevention of child or forced labour, minimum wage and salary, working conditions and freedom of association.

Our approach
Health and safety management system
Health and safety metrics
Health and safety report
Our work on vessels
Our work onshore
Ships Service
Norsea Group
Health and wellness initiatives

Our approach

Our objective with health and safety is to minimise harm to people and environment and to secure employees’ active contribution to a health & safety culture.

Health and safety management system

We continuously work towards an overall goal of zero injuries. To achieve this, we maintain ambitious health and safety standards to prevent hazards and incidents for all our employees and other parties working on behalf of the company. The overall responsibility for health and safety resides with senior management and the board of respective entities in Wilhelmsen. Relevant departments, including HSEQ, HR and operational teams manage and monitor the day-to-day implementation.

All employees in Wilhelmsen are responsible for reporting incidents, near-incidents, safety breaches and hazards. Employees are encouraged to report without fear of retribution i.e. a no-blame culture. Employees can also use our global whistleblowing channel.

Incidents are evaluated and analysed by the HSEQ departments, and important lessons learned are communicated amongst the functions and relevant business units through safety bulletins and meetings.

Wilhelmsen has implemented a variety of initiatives to maintain a healthy work environment, for example focusing on the monitoring and reporting of absence cases, health and wellness awareness events, annual health checks, employee assistance programme, adapted working hours, social activities, employee engagement surveys and opportunities for personal development.

Health and safety metrics

As a group, Wilhelmsen reports on five metrics in quarterly reports.

  • Sickness absence rate
  • Occupational disease rate
  • Lost time injury frequency rate
  • Total recordable case frequency rate
  • Total safety observations

These metrics are reported using industry standard methods1 for two types of operations within the group:

  • vessel based operations, where health and safety exposure is 24 hours per day
  • onshore operations, where health and safety exposure typically is 8 hours per day

In addition, health and safety has been formally integrated into the employee engagement survey for onshore employees. The 2018 result for the psychosocial environment index was 77, a positive result and the same as 2017.

Health and safety report

In 2018, there were 40.5 million exposure hours (work hours) in Wilhelmsen with vessel-based operations accounting for 75% of total exposure hours and onshore operations accounting for 25%.

There were zero work related fatalities in 2018.

Our work on vessels

Today, shipping is considered one of the most regulated industries worldwide. There is a comprehensive framework of global maritime safety regulations such as Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW 95), and Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS).

In 2018, the lost-time injury frequency (LTIF) rate was 0.28, within the target not to exceed 0.50. The total recordable case frequency (TRCF) rate was 1.40 within the target not to exceed 2.80. The LTIF rate target for 2019 is not to exceed 0.50 and the TRCF rate is not to exceed 2.60. Safety observation reporting on vessel operations remains consistent with 9 126 observations reported for the year.

The key focus for ship management during 2018 was prevention of harm to people, environment, property and services through better reporting and utilisation of analytics to focus on key potential improvement areas. Analytics were also used to raise awareness of the crew regarding the presence of hazards on board. Further, the hazard hunt campaign continued into its sixth year with the main themes centred around improving fire safety and reducing hand and finger injuries. One of the main challenges of the working environment is the assignment of seafarers to different work locations and teams over the course of the year. Consistent attention and focus by management and individuals on health and safety is required at all times to prevent harm and avoid issues resurfacing.

In 2018, ship management also entered into two agreements with partners DNVGL and Norwegian Maritime authority that will set the tone for operational and regulatory framework in autonomous shipping. The first agreement focuses on the development of a safety management system while the second agreement is for the development of future competence.

Our work onshore

We continue to build a robust health and safety culture onshore. In 2018, the lost-time injury frequency (LTIF) rate was 0.20, within the target not to exceed 0.5. The total recordable case frequency (TRCF) rate was 0.52 within the target not to exceed 1.5. The LTIF target will remain in place for 2019, and the TRCF rate will be reduced to 1.0. Safety observation reporting onshore is significantly higher this year with 3597 observations reported, mainly due to the inclusion of NorSea Group.

The sickness absence rate was 2.23% which is in line with the 2015 base year result of 1.67%. The occupational disease case rate result of 0.07 is in line with the 2016 base year result of 0.29.

Our offices around the world also focused on boosting employee productivity through health and wellbeing programs centred around healthy lifestyle choices.

Consistency in reporting and classification of incidents will be in focus as will improving health data analysis and correlation with employee productivity.

Ships Service

In ships service, the focus in 2018 was on robust communications and developing knowledge and understanding of the importance of personal safety. The TAKE 5 programme in ship agency placed emphasis on risk assessments and stop work authority; and a pilot was conducted for a safety and compliance forum with sub agents. Ships service also focused on auditing and assessment including doubling the number of supplier audits. The implementation of an internal “belt” assessment programme for all owned warehouses was a significant undertaking. All warehouses were according to expectations, and five warehouses even exceeded the expectations. In 2019, ships service will continue the focus on risk assessment, the TAKE 5 and the belt assessment programmes, and the implementation of better internal support tools for reporting.

NorSea Group

In NorSea Group, a major re-organisation was undertaken in 2018. The changes will enable the organisation to standardise job performance across locations to make sure all work is conducted using the same safety-standards and efficient use of resources, tools and data.

A new emergency preparedness software was implemented to improve incident management. There was a campaign focusing on securing load during transportation, since this issue was identified as one of our most challenging. Our HSE calendar makes sure every location highlights the same subject each month in local HSE meetings and during safety walks and talks.

At the bases the focus has been the operational part of the business. Heavy load and machines are handled every day, and we needed to make sure that the changes in the organization did not affect the safety while performing our job. Management visibility, safety talks and active safety delegates have been important actions to follow up our employees most exposed to hazardous risk.

In 2019, the focus will be on realizing standardization and optimization opportunities we see possible in the new organization. Community, openness and an active learning organization will be key words.

Health and wellness initiatives

We are seeing a growing trend amongst local offices to arrange health-related initiatives, slowly turning this focus area into something positive and engaging for our employees.

Health and wellbeing programs have been arranged in all corners of the world, with a main attention to awareness-building around healthy lifestyle choices, physical and mental health.

In Poland, several information meetings have been held with a healthcare provider, giving advice on different topics related to work-life balance, physical activity and mental wellbeing.

In UAE, workshops to manage health risk factors was conducted, with focus on work environment, correct body posture and tools on how to prevent, identify early warning signs and deal with work related stress. Similar programs were held in various locations around the world such as Malaysia, Germany, Panama, Hong Kong and South Africa, with many countries arranging for annual medical check-ups or health days.

In the Eastern Mediterranean countries, a wellness campaign was recently introduced, promoting well-being through regular emails and flyers. Awareness campaigns and sessions are also taking place in other countries, like Kenya and Bahrain, covering both general health topics and more specific one like how to detect early signs of cancer or how to avoid heat stress in countries with hot temperatures.

In 2019, the focus will be to enhance these or similar programs and reach out to an even wider audience, by further sharing ideas across country borders and promoting that employee personal health and safety should be everyone’s priority.