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Near Misses: The Lessons

Simon Harvey 2

While we use the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) as a source of information in our safety training and learning of the human element, there are many places where learning opportunities are lost due to the fact they never make it into any report.

Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme - CHIRP

As one of 12 worldwide ambassadors of the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) and Nautical Institute’s, Mariners' Alerting and Reporting Scheme (MARS), I wanted to start the new year with safety in mind and the subject of the ‘near miss’.

Safety-Related Incident

Most yachts today are custom designed and built, and in reality, it’s nearly impossible to sea trial for every possible scenario.

Technology is incorporated in many new places with bridges becoming a kaleidoscope of monitors and touch screens.

Many captains and crew start new posts in mid season or are rotational, and there can be times where it’s simply not possible to have the experience (or luxury of time), to get to know every procedure of every system onboard.

It’s quite probable then there will be times when things do not go quite as planned and can create a safety-related incident or event involving crew, yacht or other people.

Regulatory Reporting Procedures?

If you have seen, or been part of such an incident or error, whether an individual performance related event, fatigue or stress related issue, regulatory or unsafe practice, or design issue that has nearly resulted in injury or damage (what we refer to as a “near-miss”), and have exhausted yacht/regulatory reporting procedures without the issue having been addressed, you should think about contacting CHIPR.

Confidential Incident Reports

CHIRP receives confidential incident reports from professional and amateur participants in the maritime sector, it’s aim is to seek out root causes, identify the lessons learned and to consider how best this information can be used to prevent recurrence elsewhere in the maritime industry.

CHIRP does not seek to apportion blame to any company or individual(s) and the term ‘whistleblowing’ is not one used in CHIRP as that is often used to cast blame on an organisation or an individual.

CHIRP not only allows others to benefit from important “Lessons Learned”, but in many cases offers crew a place to report things where there was no procedure or appropriate place to report these valuable places of learning.

How do you contact CHIRP

A report can be generated either online, or as a written report through e-mail ([email protected]) .

On being received, reports are validated as far as is possible and reviewed with the objective of making the information as widely available as possible whilst maintaining the confidentiality of the source.

When appropriate, report information is discussed with relevant agencies with the aim of finding a resolution. Only depersonalised data is used in discussions with third party organisations and the confidentiality of the reporter is assured in any contact with an external organisation.

No personal details are retained from reports received.

After ensuring that the report contains all relevant information, all personal details are returned to the reporter with an acknowledgement letter.

Become a Leader of safety and professionalism

The same data is presented to the Maritime Advisory Board from whom advice and recommendation is taken as to whether there is benefit in sharing the results in the publication Maritime FEEDBACK.

The results are also fed back to the reporter.

On completion of the investigation, all personal details are removed from all files, only key information is retained in order to establish trends or identify root causes linked with Human Element behaviours.

Too often I have heard stories that made my hair stand on end and know these ‘near miss’ events have not been reported, or the ‘lessons learnt’ shared across the industry.

Whether you have a ‘near miss’ to report or simply want to learn from others, you owe it to yourself, other crew, your owners and guests, to check out CHIRP. CHIRP offers the superyacht industry an opportunity to be leaders of safety and professionalism in the maritime industry.


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