Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy (RN), along with HMNB Portsmouth and HMNB Devonport. The Clyde base straddles two sites: Faslane, 25 miles west of Glasgow, the headquarters of the Royal Navy in Scotland; and the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Coulport, eight miles from Faslane.
HMNB Clyde employs more than 3,000 people, working for the Royal Navy, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Babcock Marine and various contractors. Overall command of the base is under Commodore Chris Hockley, RN.
The challenge of safety
Health and Safety at Work is a huge issue for HMNB Clyde. Commodore Hockley and the local Managing Director of Babcock Marine, Craig Lockhart, are co-signatories to a vision statement, “Our Challenge on Safety”.
The vision statement includes 10 core safety values and concludes: “We want to move from a culture that accepts that accidents will happen to one in which every employee is confident in going home safely at the end of a day’s work, having provided products and services that are inherently safe to the end user and the general public”.
This vision is supported by a raft of safety policies and procedures, the staff and resources to implement and manage them, information and training, and everything you would expect from one of the most safety conscious installations in one of the most sensitive industries.
Yet there is growing evidence that no amount of legislation, information, policies and procedures, education and training, or even good corporate intentions is enough.
For example, the Health and Safety Executive figures for work related deaths in the UK (see www.hse.gov.uk) show a steady decline from 1500 deaths in 1960 to an average of 220 per year since 2000. These have now reached a plateau (see graph below) with each death being underpinned by tens of thousands of accidents and near misses, on a sliding scale of severe to minor.
One explanation for this is that the remedial effects of policies and procedures, however scrupulously applied, can only accomplish so much, and from this point onwards a new approach is needed to reduce the number of deaths and other injuries. HMNB Clyde’s response to this is the Incident and Injury Free (IIF) initiative. IIF is a registered mark of JMJ Associates (see www.jmj.com), an international firm of change consultants who specialise in helping clients achieve extraordinary business results.
The new challenge is to engage everyone at HMNB Clyde in learning about health and safety, and applying their new knowledge in their work environment, with a view to transforming the organisation.
It all started with an initial meeting and workshop, organised in London in March 2007 by Babcock International Group, which set the challenge to deliver an incident and injury free environment everywhere that Babcock employees work.
Following wider consultation, this was enthusiastically adopted by HMNB Clyde and implemented as a joint initiative of Babcock Marine, the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy from 7 April 2008. JMJ Associates were retained to provide the impetus, the framework and a number of resources to kick start and sustain the programme.
HMNB Clyde’s philosophy is that there needs to be a completely new safety culture and safety leadership, with a shared sense of ownership by all. HMNB Clyde has safety systems, processes, equipment and training, and yet people still get injured. This isn’t acceptable: they don’t want to have industry average figures for accidents and injuries, but rather to lead a change in the Naval support sector, to aim to become completely incident and injury free.
Mark Eltringham of Babcock Marine, and Senior IIF Coordinator at Faslane, said: “This is not about quick wins – it’s about culture change and a long term commitment”. It is not just about change, but about...