There are eight nominations in the running for the Safety Award 2018!  The winner will be announced on 15 September 2018.

Nomination 1


During the course of a project, attention and priorities can shift, but one thing is certain: safety results from successful projects and vice versa. Jan De Nul Group acknowledges that proper preparation and keeping control makes all the difference in ensuring a successful project. That’s why the company conceived ‘Imagine Think Act’ (ITA) which has a dedicated website, a We Are ITA movie and regular newsletter messages to employees.

A company-wide programme, ITA’s strategy is to approach culture from an operational point of view and not as a safety culture. The system is self-sustaining as long as company leadership give attention to ITA as it is about how leadership is realised, risks are handled and mistakes are responded to. ITA should become part of the language that all levels speak, and through this language a culture is formed, especially since direction and support comes from the top of the company. To put theory into practice, a challenge was introduced to vessels and projects worldwide, and teams challenged each other to show ITA on their vessel/project.

Some of the ingredients of ITA are a leadership expectations matrix, a process to provide feedback on risk management and level of operational control (Field Risk Talk (FRT)), a focus on critical operations, combined with a Stop and Rethink attitude when something doesn’t go according to plan, and a culture model to grow more operational control.

Nomination 2


Dredge pumps experience extreme forces during operation, requiring a robust piece of equipment to combat them. Failure of this connection can impact a project’s efficiency or in the worst case, crew. The advent of the double-walled pump improved safety and reliability, marking a major step forward compared to the formerly prevalent sheet steel pump casings. The wear-resistant casted pump casing was covered by a sheet metal outer casing which prevented the spilling of mixture while the inner pump house could be used until it disintegrated.

An alternative by Damen Dredging Equipment, the DynaCover, was fabricated and tested at full-scale. Holes were made in the inlet pipe, so when the pump was filled up, water flooded between the inner pump casing and the DynaCover. By doing so, the inner and outer pressure of the pump casing is the same, preventing the inner casing from collapsing. After several attempts and modification, a pressure of 20 bar was reached.

The DynaCover is made from Dyneema, a material used for products such as cut-resistant gloves. With fibers produced from a polyethylene with a very high molecular weight, the material is lightweight, strong, durable and resistant against UV light, oil and sea water. An easily-applied outer cover of Nomex – a flame-resistant material worn by firefighters and racing drivers – protects the DynaCover from welding sparks and dirt.

By weighing approximately 85% less than a steel double-walled pump casing and not requiring additional space, the DynaCover has another benefit: the lightweight and compact solution has a minimal impact on the payload of a Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger.

Nomination 3


Incident trend analysis indicated some recurring incidents, with personal injury, related to the use of staircases on board of vessels. Also at the offices, staircase incidents occurred with serious consequences. The root causes of these incidents brought up the behavioral aspects and the fact that the handrails of the staircase at DEME’s main personnel entrance in Zwijndrecht (Belgium), were not up to standard.

The question is how can we persuade our personnel to give a good example and use these handrails?

The opportunity was taken to experiment with technical changes of the handrails and testing the results of the changes at the same time. The results were measured by short and simple samples during the week.

  • The first technical changewas the replacement of the original steel handrails by more comfortable, wooden alternatives. This resulted in an immediate usage increase of 20%.
  • Since employees could walk in the middle of the stairway, without a handrail within reach, thenext technical change was the installation of two additional handrails. This led to an extra improvement of almost 30%.
  • After an unexpected decline in use, a simple poster campaignwas launched to introduce the public to the desired target.

The use of handrails increased up to 75% in less than a few weeks’ time. Since the start of the campaign, there have been no stair-related incidents at head office.

Nomination 4


Slips, trips and falls are considered to be the number one safety risk throughout the sector. An internal innovation event at Boskalis identified a situation on vessels to be unsafe and a solution has been conceived and implemented.

Regularly round tires are placed to form a fender which is intended to protect the equipment. These fenders can form a risk during crew transfers.

Therefore in an effort to support the crew and make the transfer safer, squared tires have been installed in place of conventional round tires. Complete with an anti-slip surface, they can be installed on all sizes of barges or multi-cats.

Cost effective, the solution is also a sustainable one since it is easy to apply and limited resources are needed for maintenance. As it is a general application, the solution can easily be used across the maritime industry, in a context even broader than dredging.

Boskalis’ Magnor backhoe dredger is currently equipped with square tire fenders and tires are being produced for six other backhoe staircases. Two sizes are currently available and further development is being done to make it fit for purpose for different equipment.

Nomination 5


There are infinite situations which can be considered risks to safety in dredging projects. That’s why Jan De Nul introduced a critical operations campaign to increase awareness around the most serious risks which have historically resulted in the worst incidents. These are identified as working at height, lifting operations, tasks requiring lock out and tag out, site traffic, defining no-go areas, marine navigational awareness and marine transfer of personnel.

Specifically, the critical operation ‘Lock Out, Tag Out’ (LOTO) contributes to safety in the sector as it is a control measure present industry-wide. Jan De Nul’s critical operation LOTO campaign was approached from an operational point of view. The campaign aimed to be interesting to crew normally involved in LOTO operations and for this reason, the people involved in LOTO are presenting it in the video.

While the technique of doing LOTO is not new, the way it is communicated to the dredging projects and vessels is. The engine room departments of all vessels wrote vessel-specific LOTO manuals detailing which isolations are required for the different jobs on board.

A usual day on board of a dredging vessel was filmed, documenting the actual crew which successfully applied isolation according to the LOTO standard. The movie followed Jan De Nul’s Imagine, Think, Act (ITA) framework: imagine what should and should not happen, think of a plan and communicate with the team, and act by leading the plan. The movie was then sent to all dredging projects and vessels, and was shared on the ITA website and Jan De Nul’s social media accounts. Constant reminders were issued in the form of posters and all of JDN’s computer login screens. Elaborate training packages were also sent to all projects and vessels to increase knowledge of the LOTO procedure.

Through advance preparation of ship-specific LOTO manuals to describe which operations require which LOTO, and then through sharing of this material, awareness and safety can be increased. The risk of working on equipment is a common issue therefore applying this approach can benefit the industry.

Nomination 6


During dredging, debris can fill the trailing draghead of trailing suction hopper dredgers. When the suction pipe is recovered on board, debris that was stuck in the draghead will fall onto the deck. To safely be able to remove this debris, Van Oord has developed an automated debris removal system. This system reduces the risk of personal injury.

Van Oord changed the existing technique from the manual removal of debris to an automated system, reducing the risk of personal injury from manual handling and eliminating slips and trips. A debris removal platform for its fleet of Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers (TSHDs) has been developed, letting crew safely and easily remove debris from the deck without the use of a broom or shovel. With a hydraulic drive bulldozer blade, the debris removal platform pushes the debris over the side of a vessel. Crew can stand-up straight next to the platform as the blade pushes the debris. The debris removal platform has several safety benefits including the elimination of manual handling, use of sustainable and safe material, covered rotating parts, safety railing, no lifting and rigging operation.

How it works

The bulldozer blade runs over rails with bogies (chassis carrying wheelsets) on either side of the platform. The rails are combined with a steel frame that keeps the KLP® working deck in place. KLP® plastic is a sustainable alternative to a wooden working deck because it is comprised of recycled bottle caps, crates and agricultural plastics. Moreover, it has a better impact resistance and provides more grip when wet. When working in an area with mud and water the chance that one slips is high. By using this type of material, the probability that a person slips or falls is low.

The bulldozer blade is operated from a local control cabinet next to the installation. When the operator starts the movement of the blade, an audible and visual alarm sounds to inform people around the platform that it is starting to move. Continuous pressure of the button is necessary for movement of the blade. If the operator takes his hand of the button, the moving of the blade will stop (dead man button).

Additional safety features

A fence is installed around the platform. When an access gate is opened, the blade will automatically stop (interlock system). The blade also stops automatically on the maximum inboard and outboard positions by means of proximity switches. An additional mechanical end-stop in combination with hydraulic pressure valves serves as a backup end-stop. As a last option to stop the movement of the blade, the local control cabinet is fitted with an emergency stop.

All rotating parts are covered to prevent entanglement of clothing or hands. The unit has its own railing with self-closing doors which are fitted with an interlock system, stopping movement when the doors are opened. Compared to existing tilting platforms, no lifting and rigging operations with a crane are required to move the platform for the debris to fall overboard.

Old solutions formulate a new solution

Although the used techniques are not new, this solution marks the first time a hydraulic-powered dozer blade has been mounted on a debris removal platform to remove debris from below the draghead. The innovation in this design is a combination of existing techniques – which are solid and proven – into a new design and application. The solution will be installed for the first time on the Vox Amalia – a TSHD dredger which is currently under construction – and it is Van Oord’s goal to install the platform on other big TSHDs as well.

Nomination 7


Mooring a ship while alongside a berth or another vessel can be a very hazardous operation. To increase the safety of crew during mooring/unmooring activities, DEME group has implemented mooring rope handles.

Made of 20 centimeters of gardening hose, a handle is attached to the mooring eye with nylon ropes (0.6 mm diameter). Two handles are adequate to lift a rope that may get wet and therefore heavy, while for lighter ropes, one handle is sufficient. The handles keep the hands of the crew member in charge of the (un)mooring activity out of the ‘risk zone’ which is situated inside the mooring eye in between the rope and the bollard.

Inexpensive and easy to apply to existing ropes, the technique increases safety by reducing risks of incidents related to the crushing, twisting, trapping of fingers or hands between the bollard and rope to almost nil. While handling fixed ropes on the quay side, injuries are avoided because the ropes can be quickly and efficiently attached to and/or removed from bollards without risking squeezed fingers and hands during unexpected tension on the mooring ropes caused by wave interruption and vessels movements. Since the initiative was taken, no new incidents involving fingers and hands have occurred during mooring operations with the involved vessels.

An ergonomic aspect results from less stress on the back from pulling as ropes become easier to manipulate leading to less back injuries overall.

The idea could become a new safety standard within the industry as well as a challenge to suppliers of mooring ropes to provide solutions with handles already attached. Mooring handles can also benefit a broad group of stakeholders even beyond the dredging industry, being applied and rolled out on every vessel – and in every company that owns vessels – to significantly reduce the risk to crew during mooring operations.

Nomination 8


Vessel-to-vessel transfer is the most critical operation for surveyors. When a vessel’s survey computers needed to be updated, surveyors were required to board the vessels at sea, which is a hazardous and time-consuming activity. At Jan De Nul Group, a wireless broadband mesh was implemented on a project to reduce vessel-to-vessel transfers of surveyors.

After implementation on several projects, the system revealed to be more efficient than initially foreseen. Not only had the vessel-to-vessel transfer of surveyors been reduced drastically, the survey updates could also occur faster and without delays, resulting in more operational efficiency. A part of improving efficiency also resulted in reduction of (fuel) cost and eventually lowering the environmental impact. The system is a plug-and-play outdoor Wireless broadband modem that can be easily interfaced with the vessels ICT infrastructure. Once the system is installed on a vessel for survey purposes, it can be used for a multitude of purposes as all other departments can use it for their own needs. ICT can control and update its network infrastructure, important operational information can be exchanged smoother with the vessels and so on.

The ICT department has implemented the system by request of the survey department for its own use. Other departments or operations that see the benefit in this system can study the possibilities and perform trials on the projects where the system is already implemented. By making the system universal, it will facilitate the implementation of project-specific requirements.

The system enables faster communication overall which will lead to more efficient operations, enabling the Project Management Team to get feedback faster.  In addition to interconnecting vessels and being a back-up for communication system failure, the system provides faster survey updates, security updates and software patches on board of vessels with the possibility for remote troubleshooting and problem-solving. So far, the wireless broadband mesh has decreased fuel consumption and transport cost from the transfers, and increased operational time in terms of efficiency and productivity through less survey delays for operations and avoiding operational standby.

Wireless Broadband Mesh has an initial installation cost, and fine-tuning is necessary, but the benefits transcend the initial cost by far. Further experience and development is necessary in order to continue improving the system.