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9/3/2014: Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy hosts discussion about offshore safety culture

Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy, wants to use Maritime Commons to host a discussion about safety culture on the Outer Continental Shelf.

“The Coast Guard places a great deal of emphasis on safety on the Outer Continental Shelf and values the operational expertise of our maritime stakeholders. I’m interested in hearing what safety culture means to our maritime stakeholders so we can address and incorporate that vital feedback and create the best policies possible,” said Thomas.

Maritime Commons interviewed Rear Adm. Thomas about topics that he intends to focus on, as the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy and safety culture was at the top of his list. He wants to know what safety culture looks like from the professional maritime community, particularly the offshore operators. Thomas also wants to discuss instances where there are safety problems.

“If a Coast Guard inspector goes on an offshore vessel or a mobile offshore drilling unit, and they get a blank stare after asking an operator what safety management system is….then they have a problem with safety culture. If you have over five deficiencies from an inspection, you might want to think about your safety culture,” said Thomas.

Thomas wants to host a discussion to share his perspective on what safety culture is as well as to listen to those working on the Outer Continental Shelf to hear about best practices, identify problems and work to improve policy that regulates safety on the OCS.

The Coast Guard will be focusing on safety culture offshore with efforts including the creation of an Outer Continental Shelf Inspector course and working closely with external stakeholders on committees such as the Transportation Research Board. Specifically, the Coast Guard will be providing a liaison officer to the Committee on Offshore Oil and Gas Safety Culture Framing Study to look at issues and knowledge gaps in the offshore industry safety culture.

Thomas highlighted how the Coast Guard has been collaborating with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on promoting OCS safety culture.

“We are jointly working on the new Safety Management System on the OCS proposed rulemaking. We have been training together and developing prevention and response policy through working groups and we co-panel speaking engagements for the public as well as industry organizations,” said Thomas.

Maritime Commons created a hashtag, #OCSsafetyculture, for its twitter account, @maritimecommons, for Thomas to kick off the discussion and take questions from the professional maritime community on safety culture on the Outer Continental Shelf.

We will be hosting the discussion here, on Maritime Commons, as well as taking your questions on Twitter. We want to get your questions and concerns addressed by Coast Guard leadership. Give us your questions and we will get you answers! Be a part of the discussion and be heard by senior Coast Guard leadership on the essential topic of safety culture.

“I am looking forward to hosting an open dialogue and using new communication technology to see how we can better involve the public in our policy making. This will be an exciting opportunity for us to connect with our stakeholders on important issues that affect them,” said Thomas.

• Respond here on Maritime Commons or tweet your questions or comments to @maritimecommons and use the hashtag #OCSsafetyculture
• We will take comments and questions during the month of September
• One question per tweet or blog post so we can fully address each one individually
• Stay on topic and keep questions to issues involving safety on the Outer Continental Shelf
• Comments are moderated and those that stray off topic or are unprofessional will not be approved
• Let’s start the discussion now!

We will bring your responses to Rear Adm. Thomas and post the answers to your questions and comments here, on Maritime Commons!

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This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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