Safety culture the Maersk Contractors’ way

By Lisbeth Norup Frømling, Maersk Contractors

As Maersk Contractors continues to grow, maintaining high safety standards becomes increasingly important. Two new initiatives – a three-part training package and a global safety campaign – are helping to keep the company’s safety culture prominent in employees’ minds.


Maersk Contractors is undergoing a period of substantial growth. Nine new rigs are being added to the fleet over the next two years, and many new employees are starting, both onshore and offshore.

This presents a challenge for the company’s safety culture. Safety is a top priority, and the company is committed to always maintaining a safe working environment. At Maersk Contractors, the goal is simple yet ambitious: to be a company with zero accidents. To achieve this, all new crews must be trained and supported so they understand the company’s safety culture and the level of safety performance that the company represents. It is important that all employees, both new and experienced, are committed to the goal and always keep safety in mind.

Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Contractors and partner in A.P. Moller – Maersk, says: “Safety does not conflict with our bottom-line focus. On the contrary, we believe that safety leads to better quality, better efficiency and better results overall. This way, our customers can trust that their operations are carried out quickly, efficiently and safely by Maersk Contractors.”


One initiative being taken to prepare employees for growth is a safety training package. It was first used for new buildings starting in May 2007 and later will be rolled out to all units and offices. The package has three parts: a two-day basic safety training course with e-learning and classroom training in procedures and requirements; a two-week onboard emergency training; and a one-day safety culture workshop. A supplement to basic safety and emergency training, it aims to help all employees work and live more safely. By introducing the package worldwide, Maersk Contractors has set a minimum standard for safety training on all company units, no matter where the units work.


The training package is based on Maersk Contractors’ safety culture, the health and safety policy, and the management system. It was also developed using suggestions for improvements from different countries and units, as well as internal and external statistical trends. However, perhaps the most important input during development came from an evaluation group consisting of eight offshore employees from different countries and five onshore employees with expertise in training. The evaluation group gave input on training and commented on all aspects of the courses, making sure that new crews will be able to perform safely from the beginning of operation. This input has had a huge impact on the content, form and structure of the courses.


The safety culture workshop is being rolled out throughout Maersk Contractors during 2007 and early 2008. Approximately 4,000 employees will attend the workshop as part of a global Safety Culture Campaign: Safety the Maersk Contractors way. The workshops consist of seven modules covering different human aspects in respect of safety. Every module focuses on awareness as well as personal commitment to and responsibility for safety. Highly interactive, the workshops use a variety of individual and group exercises, films and activities.

The workshops will be followed by a worldwide campaign, with onshore and offshore material on the intranet and in magazines.

The campaign increases personal awareness, illustrating the positive impact all employees can have by setting a good example. This can prove a challenge for experienced employees – it is very difficult to change daily routines and habits that have become ingrained over the years, especially when the installation, cabins, galley, operations, tools and engines are still the same. But nothing will change until somebody commits to changing it. This is why the campaign aims to create awareness and personal commitment, ensuring ongoing improvements to Maersk Contractors’ safety culture.

Maersk Contractors’ safety culture also recognises that safety has a positive impact on friends and family at home. So, the campaign focuses on each employee’s responsibility outside Maersk Contractors: to their family, friends and other loved ones. The idea that no one is alone is brought home by a short movie featuring a personal interview with a family whose husband and father was involved in an offshore accident.


Safety culture is about producing behavioural norms through shared values and beliefs within an organisation’s structure and control systems. When people have shared values and see these values working, they recognise them as a natural part of their daily life. Colleagues act accordingly, and it is natural for each person to do the same.

As Mr Hemmingsen explains: “We firmly believe that we can improve our safety performance and eliminate accidents by growing a strong safety culture – a culture driven by values, beliefs, behaviour, sayings and actions between people. We will not be satisfied or reduce our efforts until we have achieved our goal.”

Safety culture at Maersk Contractors:

• We are determined to live safely by living the A.P. Moller – Maersk values.

• Safety is a top priority.

• We believe in personal responsibility for safety.

• We have a duty to intervene when we see unsafe acts and conditions. If we see it – we own it.

• We do not tolerate deviation from good safety practice.

• We lead and act by setting a good example.

• We share “lessons learnt” and believe in preventive measures.

• We strive for continuous safety improvements.

• We encourage an open dialogue and a constructive questioning attitude, and we welcome new ideas.

• We develop and make use of tools and training programmes that support our safety culture.

The statements above are becoming familiar to all employees at Maersk Contractors. Everybody, whether they are new or experienced, is helped to act in accordance with them through safety training and daily safety leadership. Many employees can already say that this is how they perform today, and it is important that these employees act as role models to help their colleagues achieve the same safety awareness on a daily basis.


Before the Safety Culture Campaign, a survey of the present safety culture called “Safety Climate Survey” was carried out on all on- and offshore Maersk Contractors units. The survey will be repeated at a later stage, and the data will be used to measure progress.

Each unit will receive individual feedback on their safety culture and will be told how they compare with Maersk Contractors worldwide.

The safety culture will be measured frequently in the future, and other measuring tools will include safety statistics, results from safety and work environment audits and safety inspections.


The Maersk Contractors’ way is the safe way. It means the safe approach and acting as an example to all employees, so all employees are role models for each other. But more than that, using global tools to create a common safety culture and safety standards contributes to the company’s common understanding and a common culture in general.

Along with other safety initiatives, the introduction of a new safety training package and a global Safety Culture Campaign will set a minimum level for safety performance at Maersk Contractors. No matter where a unit is working, and no matter what authorities or customers require, the work will always be performed above the global minimum level. New employees will learn the Maersk Contractors’ way quickly, and experienced employees will improve practices to fast become role models for newcomers. This way, all employees will be able to perform safety the Maersk Contractors way.

This article is based on a presentation to be made at the IADC Drilling HSE Europe Conference & Exhibition, 9-10 October 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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