Change Attitudes and You Change Behavior

By Michelle Howard
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Martin Hernqvist

Developing effective safety cultures on board involves thinking outside the box and away from established practice, according to Martin Hernqvist, head of The Swedish Club Academy, the body set up to deliver The Maritime Resource Management programme (MRM), speaking at yesterday’s Manning and Training Conference in Copenhagen.



“It is only through a genuine change in attitudes that behavior can be changed and a demonstrable improvement in a company’s safety culture made,” said Hernqvist.  “If attitudes are poor it doesn’t matter what technical skills and knowledge a company has in place as it will not see the change in behavior needed to achieve results in the loss prevention arena.
 


“It’s about having the right culture in place – both at sea and on shore – and this is why attitudes must ultimately be driven by the ship owner themselves. “



Whilst this culture change must start from the top down, Hernqvist sees in-house training as a key contributor to this culture change. “In our MRM training we have found this to be the most effective route to achieving long lasting results. The use of a company’s own incident reports and procedures ensures that the training is operating closer to the participants own reality, and new behaviors are much more likely to be reinforced in the future.
 


“In addition, what goes on inside the training room should be replicated in the working environment,” he said. “Companies should use the MRM terminology and tools in communication with ships and for incident analyses, and Safety Management Systems should be updated and in line with the training objectives set during the course.



Hernqvist concluded, ”There may be challenges ahead for the established maritime academies and training centres to produce good and long-lasting results since they are further away from the organizational cultures the trainees eventually will be part of.”

 

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