Safety first...until it affects profit

Anyone have any of these tales to tell?

We had just attended a Company Wide Safety Meeting, Lucky us to just happen to be at the company dock that day.:mad:

I get back to the boat and we get a Overheat Alarm on a Generator. I switched over to the other gen set and start checking the sick 6-71. Turns out that the head had a nice size crack in it and was pouring water into the Air Box. They could not get us a new head until the next morning.

This boat had a Tow Winch that was Driven by a Hydraulic Motor that was powered by a PTO on the Generator Engine. We would fire up the off line Gen Engine and engage that PTO to power the Tow Winch.

So with only one working Generator Engine we could not safely run the winch.

We get orders to head down the Delaware to Bigstone Anchorage with a Black Oil Barge to Lighter a Crude Tanker.

The Captain asked the Chief and Me (I was working over as A/E) what we thought. I told him it was nuts and not safe. The Captain told the office our concerns and the sent a V.P. down to “talk” to us. He goes through this whole spiel about getting the job done and how we all have to pull together and keep everything moving. I sat there until I just could not take it anymore and started laughing. He looked at me and said what was so funny. I looked right at him and asked if he was for real and that he had balls to even ask us this especially right after we all had just sat through a “Company Safety” meeting. We did not move until we got the replacement head installed and had two operating Generators.

As I think back on the 20 years that I worker for that company, I can not help but wonder how I never got fired.:confused: I was never one to keep my mouth shut and definitively put my foot in my mouth more than several times. I always spoke my mind especially when it came to safety!

Mine was every time I left the dock on a particular blue osv. Go dark ship once today, three times two days later, maybe not again for another couple of days. The worst was three times in 45 minutes. The fun part was when the lights went out, the bow thruster was set up that the hpu cut off- full rpm and full pitch whichever way it was thrusting at the time.

The safety man was waiting on board to meet another boat coming in when I brought all this up and showed him the logbook entries and emails. “If that were happening to me, I would bring back to the dock and tie it up until they fixed it.”

“Yeah boss, that may work for you with your 30 years of stroke. All that would happen to me is that I would get fired, and they would get someone else on here that would flip out when it happened to them.”

I was going as far as telling crane operators to send their hands down with flashlights in their pocket. ’ Not if but when the lights go out they’ll be stumblin around in the dark down here for a bit. It’s a long 20 seconds before that e-gen lights off.’

The manager got so tired of the emails that he was considering sending a priest to perform an exorcism since the vendors were having no luck. I put up with that for over six months until I finally called the crew coordinator and said I would not be back.

I heard they finally figured out the problem, but I was already gone and didn’t care about the details.

I too am too outspoken for my own good.

At the Academy, we are constantly getting drilled on Safety.

I could see myself in Tugs position - challenging a VP - and getting fired.

I assume few boats are 100%, 100% of the time. Maybe getting fired is better than crewing on an unsafe vessel. BUT, would a mate get blacklisted for speaking out?

How do you know when it’s ok to improvise vs take a stand? Guess it boils down to experience and knowing what risks are acceptable.

By “blue” hull I’m going to assume you speak of a Turdwater vessel. What you describe sounds indicative of half the fleet when I was there. I remember for the SMS system the had the safety and environmental policy which was the 5 P’s for short to help us all remember. People, Prevent, Provide etc. So one time we got the Safety Captains and our Ops guy down grilling us for an external audit with the ABS. The five P’s come up and the captain says I thought there was 6 P’s. They all ask what’s the 6th P and the captain replies Profit as in profit above all else. He was a cool ass captain I miss working with him he had a perfect deadpan delivery when the office was bitching at him. He dipped way to much Copenhagen though. It was one of the few DP boats in the fleet at the time when DP first came out. In those days it was easier to live boat everything and lie to the company man you were on DP. Dark times to be an OSV master adding crappy DP systems to a 20 year old rust bucket.

PEOPLE- are the uncontrollable asset in this endeavor
PROVIDE- a hostile work environment to ensure that no employee feels secure enough to give an honest solicited opinion
PROMOTE- a culture of backstabbing through the use of empty promises and threats
PROTECT- the sanctum sanctorum of management to remain unapproachable
PREVENT- the projected image to be marred by the truth

Yup thats how I remember them you definitely worked at Turdwater.

Once upon a time, we were soon to enter port for a load at a dock that couldn’t take our slops. I started the OWS only to have an alarm that the OCM cell had bit the weenie. I emailed the port engineer that I needed an OCM and I could install it with no problem. I received a phone call (no paper trail)after entering port and was told the OCM was not in the budget and I needed to wait until the new fiscal year. I replied “the equipment failure is logged and it is a NO SAIL item”. “Really!” he announced.

Early the next morning, we were awaiting cargo. I was drinking coffee in the galley with the crew when the port engineer strolled in, dropped his satchel on the table in front of me and said “my license is in there and I can sail this thing if need be”! I said, “well, I just turned 55 and I have more than 7300 days pension credit. I have nothing in my stateroom that I can’t just walk off and leave. I’ll just grab my satchel and you can have it”. As I got up, he says “let’s start this conversation over again”. I should have followed through.

A few months later, we were going through a pre-audit at the same time of a C280 maintenance cycle. Of course this is after being called out at 0300 to get the IG back on line. The port captain excoriated me for my “hours worked log” not up to date and a lecture on OPA90 work rules. When I pointed out with the increased paperwork, maintenance and short crews if the rules were followed, you’d be paying demurrage on the cargo. I was told to “learn to better manage my time”. I thanked him for showing me the light and said, “I can manage my time very well with a surf rod and a bottle of rum!”I Like an idiot, I gave them 6 more months. Of course they increased manning after I retired….

I’ve had my share of nonsense, but I’m grateful for where I’m at now and my shoreside superiors. Port engineer, not so much. But when I say NO, things happen.

At a previous job, not so much engineering, but doing some offshore work on small boats the GM would always say “well it’s ONLY ten foot at the buoy.”

One day he came for a boat ride. Ten foot. Didn’t make it to the sea buoy without praying to the porcelain. Never have bit my tongue harder…“what’s the matter…ONLY ten foot!” …meanwhile I’m washing down a hotdog with some black coffee. Idea was even if we didn’t get any work done they got the day rate for us going offshore and turning around. Wish I knew.

The tug company I worked for almost 10 years, come up with a new policy on lace up steel toe boots. Well they send the safety man down to all the boats to discuss the new policy. He proceds to tell us that he wants us to wear lace up steel toes all the time, except when we are in our bunk rooms. This is everyone on the boat even the captain. I have always been a pull on Redwing type guy, so I asked the safety man. If I am laying there in bed and the generator goes dead, do you want me to take the time to lace up a pair of boots before going down stairs to put another generator online, or simply put on my pants and pull on my rewings and get the lights and steering back on. He say’s well this policy doesn’t really count in that situation. So I just ignored him all together and kept my pull on redwings.

After my conversation the captain chimes in and asks why he has to wear steel toe lace up boots on the bridge, are you scared I might drop an ink pin on my foot or something. The safety man says well you might see the deck hand in a bind or something and need to run down real quick and give him a hand. The captian just looks at the safety man real calm and asks who is going to be driving the boat while I am doing all this?

The safety man got mad and stomped off the boat and told us to forget that he was ever there.

Deepwater Horizon.

A few days after a big meeting telling all of us how great a job we where doing and how great or safety record was I was asked to put fuel in my mud tanks, which this vessel was not certified to do. I call the office and ask to speak to the safety guy. He wont pick up and neither will anybody else at the office. I tell the secretary to have somebody call me back quick. Five minutes later a port captain shows up asking what the problem was. I explain it to him and he asks me what am I going to do about it? I looked him in the eye and told him I quite.

My license is not worth a quick buck for that chicken shit outfit.

This is a good thread.

Most of the posts relate stories that have two things in common. The efforts to improve safety were top-down and they were stupid.

Top down often fails because they are not part of an overall program. However bottom-up (from the boat) safety discounts low frequency high consequence accidents because most crew have not experienced them. .

Safety programs should be top-down with a strong feed-back loop from the boat

I was waffing on whether to post these but screw it. This fire happened on a contract-operated MSC LMSR a few years back all because the shipyard couldn’t be bothered to post a fire watch in the area. I was one of the port engineers and what an ungodly freak show this whole ordeal was. They were washing off the padeyes under the stern that were used to pull the tailshafts for inspection and inside, in the steering flat, where there was no fire watch, a box and a bale of rags caught fire and spread to other flammables in the space. I took most of these. The office bitched that they were “dark” to which I replied, no shit sherlock, the frigging lights melted and soot and smoke are everywhere, that’s what usually happens in a fire. Cue the Sisler- Sizzler jokes.









[ATTACH]2919[/ATTACH] outside above the fire, some of this steel was warped and had to be replaced.

[ATTACH]2920[/ATTACH] this was a surveyor digging around to get to the ignition point

[ATTACH]2921[/ATTACH] This was the bilge pocket where it started; you can see the round shape where the padeye was and corrugated cardboard stuck to it

My favorite Line from a Yard Superintendent after I was questioning his reason for pulling a Fire Watch from my Lower E.R. during hot work was “Anything that could burn burned yesterday”. You can not fix stupid.

During one extended yard period in Tampa Ship we had a running problem with the lack of safety. One on the lead safety men came down one time as we were just putting out a fire in a Wing Ballast Tank that was started by the two yard workers doing hot work with no Fire Watch, they were lucky to get out. After my blood pressure came back down a little he asked what else had been going on. After me bitching for about 30 minutes he left but gave me his Cell Number and said to call him if I had anymore problems.

A couple of days later they started pulling fire watches again so I call the Safety Guy and to his credit he came down to see what was going on and told them No More Hot Work Without Fire Watches. The next day I was called into the Shipyard office and told that I was never to call that guy again. I looked at my PE and said you have to be Fucking Kidding Me! I was told that it was their yard and they set the rules on who gets called when. He was not impressed when I said fine next time I will get my gear off and then call the fire department if that call would be allowed.

As I have said before I really wonder how I made it to retirement age.

Around ’87, I was on a tug on drydock at Gulf-Tampa. After knocking off at 1700, I was contemplating making my appearance at Stoney’s. There was an Exxon tug on the drydock next to us. I observed the Chief on the stern getting his ass reamed by the Exxon safety man. After said reaming, the safety man has a backpack shouldered, a box under one arm and toting a projector as he starts down the gangway. As he made it to the end, there was a short step and turn that wasn’t managed well. He stumbled as he turned and you could see the bones break in his leg. Made my ass pucker! The Chief also witnessed this. He turns to me and shouts, “The worst part is I’ll have to do the paperwork!” I didn’t sense any love lost…

Stoney’s? Hmm, I think I recall that place. . .

Good thread.

Hot work and yard periods always a hot topic.

What is Hot work?

What are fire hazards?

Just start there and amuse yourself for 90 seconds …

[QUOTE=z-drive;98766] …meanwhile I’m washing down a hotdog with some black coffee. .[/QUOTE]

Breakfast of champions.