What is the real added value of a NINA Workbox?

When CLV Spirit had to wait for the installation of a platform at the Hornsea2 project, Captain Glenn Raes and OCM Arjan Ottink proposed to use this idle time for safety sessions. SHE-Q Advisor Ricardo Guedes came up with the idea to facilitate NINA Workboxes for both marine and project crew.

The secret of a successful NINA session is to have the time and the headspace, says Glenn Raes, Captain of the CLV Spirit. “Talking in depth about safety issues asks a lot from people, especially when they share personal stories. I often see people have to chew on it for a couple of days and come back on it.” This experience led him to his initiative. “In our line of work there is quite some idle time. Often it is because of bad weather, which is not ideal to address safety, as everyone will be tired from of lack of sleep. During the Hornsea2 project however, we had to wait for the installation of the platform before we could lay the cables, so that was a perfect opportunity for safety sessions.”

Dig deep
SHE-Q Advisor Ricardo Guedes proactively suggested to facilitate all three NINA workboxes (Hands, Mooring and Lifting & Hoisting) for both marine and project crew. At the end of October he organized six sessions in total, each with 10 to 12 persons. “With the NINA Workbox sessions I want to give these men the feeling we do it for them. They work hard and deserve such time to share their experiences. I tell them: this Workbox is not about NINA, it’s about you. It serves as a start for our conversation about your work and we take as much time as we need. We don’t talk about technics, because that’s what we do in a toolbox, no, we dig deeper: we discuss the values we share.”

Different perspective
This discussion is important, says Glenn. “We all have the same goal when it comes to safety: to return home safely. However, people don’t always know what’s expected from them at work. Especially new people. A Rigger may think he is expected to work as fast as he can. But when he talks with someone from the bridge, he gets a different perspective: he hears that he should  take the time, to make sure the job’s done safely. For me these interactions are the real added value of the NINA Workbox sessions. It helps to prevent an atmosphere on board of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. It creates understanding, which is good for teamwork and eventually for the success of the project.”

Laid back conversations
Ricardo agrees. “I strongly believe in an informal setting, with a mix of people from both marine crew and project crew, a mix of ranks, a mix of cultures. I’ve held the best sessions in a dirty mess, with men in their overalls, laid back, drinking a cup of coffee.” It results in the most valuable conversations, he says: “You sit together as adults, share your stories, explore each other’s experiences and really connect with and inspire others. They all end up saying: ‘yes, we should pay more attention’, even they were a bit reluctant at the start.”

This involvement Glenn and Ricardo see both with Boskalis personnel as with subcontractors. Glenn: “First of all: the whole industry leans heavily on subcontractors. So, it’s a mistake to talk about ‘the’ subcontractor. They come in all sorts and in my experience there is hardly any difference in how they look at safety.” That’s what Ricardo experiences too, however there is a difference in approach: “A lot of subcontractors are still afraid to express themselves, afraid it might have repercussions.” Working as a contractor himself he often serves as intermediate between subcontractors and management. “I serve as a vehicle for communication, which is good, it’s a sign of trust and I take ownership for what they bring to the table.”

“Everyone of us knows someone that had or was closely involved in a hand injury accident. Some have experienced an injury themselves.”

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