• PNG Business News

‘Safety Milestone in Midst of Pandemic’



Pacific Towing reached an important safety milestone on 14 May, having achieved 4 Years Lost Time Injury (LTI) Free. The marine services provider attributes its safety success to an ongoing and considerable investment in high quality training and rigorous safety management systems and processes.


A Lost Time Injury (LTI) is an injury sustained by an employee that results in a loss of productive work time. An injury is considered an LTI only when the injured worker is unable to perform regular job duties, takes time off for recovery, or is assigned modified work duties while recovering.


Pacific Towing’s Safety Manager, Richard Hayka, says that “LTI’s are a commonly reported safety statistic and they provide an indication of how well an employer is tracking when it comes to providing a safe workplace. If a company has a lot of LTI’s then there is definitely something going very wrong when it comes to their safety management systems and processes.” The reporting of LTI’s is important to every industry but its particularly prominent in the resources sector, as well as in the construction and maritime sectors.


Pacific Towing’s focus on safety extends beyond its own organisation. GM Neil Papenfus explains how the marine services provider has collaborative programs with contractors, clients and business partners. “Because we provide services to clients across multiple sectors we have to thoroughly understand and obviously comply with the different safety requirements of these different sectors. Our oil and gas clients for example have some of the strictest workplace safety requirements anywhere in the world. This is why the oil and gas safety training we do with our international sister companies, Swire Pacific Offshore and Swire Emergency Response, are so valuable.”


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic most businesses were primarily concerned with the ‘Safety’ side of ‘Workplace Health and Safety’ with ‘Health’ being much less of a priority. However, employee health is now very much ‘front and centre’ and like other employers Pacific Towing has implemented a range of recommendations in accord with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines to keep its staff as safe and healthy as possible, both at sea and on shore. Furthermore, the company is regularly distributing WHO health messages to not just its staff but also to their families, as well as to the broader PNG public via social media.


“Pacific Towing has been more fortunate than many other businesses when it comes to dealing with the Corona Virus because we already had a rigorous safety management program and well-oiled safety systems and processes in place” says Hayka. “I won’t say that it was easy to rapidly implement the necessary controls to mitigate the health and safety risks of the Corona Virus but we did have a certain capacity to ‘hit the ground running’ so to speak. As a result, we’ve been able to continue to safely crew and despatch our vessels both here in PNG as well as overseas. We’ve also been able to generate some new businesses by helping out other marine service providers who haven’t been quite as fortunate.”

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