PartnerShip: How have these 4 years of crisis affected safety?
Vincent Coquelet: The crisis implied a general decrease in resources, which in certain cases may have generated breakdowns and therefore greater exposure to risks. That was our biggest challenge. We require standards that are difficult to meet when there is a lack of resources, even though safety has always been our priority. But today we have returned to operational standards that are practically identical to those before the crisis, with the Bourbon Mobility Surfers investment plan.
Patrick Lièvre: This crisis pushed us to change our models to find other means to maintain our safety standards. We have gone back to more basic, simple but effective tools, such as the Safety Posts1, which are a big success with both our teams and our customers, and the Life Saving Rules. Moreover, we are developing our Smart shipping program, which also serves safety: the digitization of time-consuming administrative tasks thus enables the crews to remain focused on the assessment and prevention of risk.
PartnerShip: Since 2012 and despite the crisis, BOURBON's results in terms of safety have been largely superior to the IMCA average. How do you account for this?
Olivier Vinoche: The crews remain highly committed and our SMS (Safety Management System) provides a solid base, a robust tool to assist the application of safety on board. Thus, in the first five months of 2019, Bourbon Subsea Services didn't have any recordable incidents reported!
Patrick Lièvre: For me, it is the sign of the company's real maturity. But we cannot rest on these figures, because our results were not as good in 2018. We have to stay humble and mobilized.
Vincent Coquelet: We still have a way to go to achieve an optimal safety culture, but we are not beginners. Safety has been part of BOURBON's DNA for many years. And most of our teams work very well and respect the procedures.
PartnerShip: BOURBON encourages visits by management on board and to the bases. Why do you prioritize this mode of action?
Olivier Vinoche: Yes, indeed, each manager must carry out at least 4 visits per year. That is a lot more than in previous years and it enables better communication with operators and more contact with the field. Information is reported more rapidly and the teams are more involved.
Vincent Coquelet: The involvement of top management is fundamental to the safety policy. It demonstrates that safety is not just the responsibility of the safety manager, it is everybody's business! We also have to go beyond sanctions and focus more on education. The teams must apply the safety policy because they believe in it and not because they are forced to. That is the purpose of these field visits by management.
Olivier Vinoche: I'd like to add that putting pressure on the teams is counter-productive because they then hesitate to report information in case of an incident. Hence the education policy that we carry out.
" The involvement of top management is fundamental to the safety policy. It demonstrates that safety is not just the responsibility of the safety manager, it is everybody's business!"
Vincent coqueletHSE MANAGER - BOURBON MOBILITY
PartnerShip: Has BOURBON's reorganization into three autonomous companies been beneficial for safety management?
Patrick Lièvre: Segmentation has enabled us to focus on a single activity and thus allows us to better focus on the risks specific to our segment. That doesn't mean that the ties have been broken and we meet very regularly to work together proactively.
Vincent Coquelet: For the Surfers, this change has been extremely beneficial with an entity dedicated to our problematics. We have common BOURBON standards, while being more focused and therefore more effective on our respective core businesses. Contact persons are also better defined.
PartnerShip: Would you like to send a particular message to the crews?
Olivier Vinoche: I'd like to say that we are here to provide them with support, that they can continue their efforts despite the difficulties. The teams manage to perform remarkable operations with total safety thanks to the control over risks and the collaboration of our customers, which is fundamental.
Vincent Coquelet:The tools devoted to safety are there to help the personnel and not to replace them. They should not be seen as a constraint but as a support to better understand the risks and to be able to confront them.
Patrick Lièvre: Thanks to the efforts on board, most operations go well and we never forget that. Beyond our own action, we have to keep in mind that safety is not a unilateral job: customers and contractors must work together with total transparency to build a global safety culture.
1Safety Post - This original media (comic strip format), based on real events, was developed to engage individual and team thinking by initiating discussions about accidents and the means to avoid them. The Safety Post has become a major safety tool that has been adopted by all BOURBON employees.
3 QUESTIONS FOR... Nicolas Brunet, Senior VP HSE / EP for Total.
PartnerShip: How does TOTAL still manage to progress in terms of safety?
Nicolas Brunet: First and foremost, it takes flawless commitment on the part of management, and senior management in particular. That is the key element. HSE performance begins at the top of our organization with our CEO, Patrick Pouyanné, whose vision determines this value as a fundamental for the rest of the company. This value is then deployed throughout the group, through the EP branch with Arnaud Breuillac and then through its management and departments via our HSE policy. Safety is clearly the primary operational responsibility of our business units and affiliates. It is based both on management and leadership. We have made it the fundamental value of our organization because we can accept no compromise on a value! It is a daily commitment (with the ritual of safety moments or our Perfect Days, for example) because every day without an accident is a victory.
PartnerShip: You seem to consider management as being in opposition with leadership. How do you distinguish between them?
N. B.: I don't put them in opposition with each other, they are complementary. However, I confirm that in terms of safety, a manager and a leader are not exactly playing on the same field. In my opinion, the role of management consists in facing complexity, setting frameworks and ensuring they are respected, measuring, focusing on systems, monitoring the vision, organizing employees, etc., while remaining focused on the objectives. Leadership consists in facing or even initiating change, communicating and delivering a vision, inspiring... More than on material or measurable objectives, they are focused on persons and their behavior, their development within a process of continuous improvement. Their action must be supported by strong human values. A director, manager or team leader must be able to act like a leader, manager or coach according to the needs and the working environment.
PartnerShip: BOURBON has made on-site visits a priority, with immediate results in terms of safety. What do you think of the visibility of management in the field?
N. B.: It is essential and I never cease to convey this message to all the teams. Safety management requires perfect knowledge of the men and the field as well as sharing knowledge of best practices and the errors that must not be repeated. That is why we have to go on site and speak not only with team leaders but also with all employees, to transfer this safety culture as much as possible, as well as the commitment necessary to acquire it, and to convince them of the necessity of respecting procedures. Establishing this proximity also means showing respect toward the men, demonstrating that we are interested in them, that we appreciate their daily work and their role within the company and the project. We cannot talk about safety if we are not attached to the persons, regardless of the company we work for. We must all progress together.