Safety Committee Meeting – Purpose and Objective

What is Safety Committee Meeting

The safety committee meeting is a get together of Master and safety officials and Head of Departments and crew members in which the matter relating to Quality, Health, Safety and Environment can be discussed.

As Per Code of Safe Working Practises (COSWP) the company is required to appoint a Safety Committee on every Ship.

Appointment of Safety Committee as per COSWP
Appointment of Safety Committee as per COSWP

The appointment of Safety Committee and its effectiveness will depend upon the commitment of its members, particularly Master.

Purpose of Safety Committee

The purpose of safety committee is to create a structural organisation dealing with enhancement of onboard safety, to develop safe working atmosphere on ship. It also includes safety or pollution prevention equipment as well as working procedures on board. The safety committee creates the involvement of entire ships crew in matters concerning safety, rather than it being limited to top ranks.  It encourages reporting of near miss and accidents.

Function of Safety Committee

The Following are main objective of Safety Committee, but should not be limited to and other relevant topic should also be discussed as required.

  • discussion on Safety, Health and Environment topics from all crew
  • obtain contributions towards improving the Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) standards on board from all crew;
  • Seek ways to eliminate unsafe practices;
  • tell crew regarding safety and environment protection related information to all crew;
  • active participation from crew for safety, health and environment protection related matters.
  • SEEMP/TEEMP (Ship/Tanker Energy Efficiency Management Plan) can be discussed in all QHSE meetings.

It should be the prime moto of safety committee that all staff on board are encouraged to participate and are motivated to contribute their views or concerns on working practices on board.

Below is extract from COSWP regarding safety committee,

Advise given to safety committee in COSWP
Advise given to safety committee in COSWP

Composition of Safety Committee

Master - Chairman of committee and has overriding authority on matters of safety.

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Safety Officer – Chief Officer or Second Engineer or any other officer appointed by the Master. A safety officer's appointment terminates as soon as he ceases to be employed in the particular ship.

(As per COSWP, on every sea going ship with five worker or more, company is required to appoint a safety officer.)

Read More about Safety Officer, here

Safety Representative -A safety representative is an elected person from among the ships crew to represent the crew and discuss the matters related to safety, health etc.

(As per COSWP, on every ship on which five or more seafarers are working, the Company must make arrangements for the election of safety representatives)

Criteria for Safety Representative is as follows:

  • He must have at least 2 years of seagoing service,
  • must be more than 18 years of age,
  • if on tankers should have 6 month experience on a tanker,

Now the question how many safety representative can be elected?

Following is a guideline for number of Safety Representative that can be elected.

  • 6 -15 crew onboard: 1 Safety representative elected officer and Rating
  • 15 - 30 crew onboard: 1 safety representative from officer and 1 safety representative from rating
  • 30 + crew onboard: 1 safety representative from officer and 3 safety representative from rating preferably 1each from Deck, Engine and Galley)

(Officer’s Representative – at least one junior officer; Crew’s Representatives – Bosun and/or at least one member of the crew)

The officer’s and crew’s representatives should be elected by the ship staff on the basis of their enthusiasm and sincerity in the improvement of safety on board the ship.

Once the safety Committee is appointed the composition needs to be logged in the Deck log book or Official Log book as per some flag state requirements.

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Safety committee meeting should be conducted at least once every MONTH.

Procedure for holding Safety Committee Meeting

To conduct the safety committee meeting it is important that all officer and rating are present for the meeting except on on watch and hence meeting should be conducted on various timing so that the officer or rating who did not attend the meeting is able to attend the next meeting.

The first agenda of the meeting must always be the minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising out of the last safety Meeting. 

All decisions and actions taken with respect to previous safety meeting observation and which have been completed must be reported and a record made stating the closing of those items. Items which have not been completed should be carried forward for the next meeting also reasons for items that have not been completed should recorded and a target date mentioned for the same item.

Safety officer inspection report and observation should be discussed.

Incident, injury, near miss or accident reports can be discussed in the meeting to increase the crew awareness and avoid further similar incident/injury/near miss/accidents.

Important Points to remember for meeting

  • the agenda and associated documents should be circulated with members to enable them to digest the contents and prepare for meeting
  • if agenda is long, 2 meetings should be held and the priority topic should be covered in first meeting
  • last item on the agenda should be time and date of next meeting
  • minutes of each meeting should be recorded and copy to be provided for comments
  • relevant extracts of agreed minutes should be forwarded to the company by master

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