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With Innovation, Wilson Sons reduces tugboat fleet accident rate by 95%

Innovation has been an important ally for Wilson Sons in the success of its Health, Safety, and the Environment (HSE) programme. With a fleet of 80 tugboats, the largest in Brazil, the Company has been able to reduce the rate of lost- time accidents by more than 95% in the last decade. Last year, the lost- time injury frequency rate was 0.33 per one million man-hours worked.

Corporate social networking, podcasts, games, QR codes and artificial intelligence are some of the tools used to reinforce HSE practices in the Company. “Innovation is at the heart of Wilson Sons’ business. These are often simple initiatives, but they enable significant results,” says the executive director of the towage division, Marcio Castro.

One example is the internal social network (JAM), a collaborative communication platform that connects employees throughout the Company. The towage division saw an opportunity to enhance the disclosure of relevant safety content using the tool, especially for the vessel crews.

Today the unit has over 800 employees from north to south of the Brazilian coast, 567 of whom are seafarers. The JAM membership rate is 100%. “The platform gave us the freedom to develop multimedia products, more attractive and explanatory, in addition to speeding up various processes, with the possibility of online access to materials,” he explains

Among the campaigns, there are video contests (in which employees record HSE practices on their vessels), a game with simulations of unsafe behaviour on board, in addition to the HSE alert podcast, with reports of events and lessons learned. Castro also highlights the Sharing QHSE project, a three-minute video that explains safety procedures in a simple manner.

Last year, the Company reached the highest level of safety culture, according to a survey conducted in partnership with DuPont, a world reference HSE practises. More than 1,000 companies globally carry out this evaluation, but only 50 have achieved this grade.

Digital transformation

The digitalisation of on-board processes has also contributed to positive results. Today the captains record the safety dialogues and behavioural observations in an online system. The information is stored in the cloud and can be accessed directly by the head office support teams in real time.

“Another important initiative was the installation of closed-circuit cameras at key points of the tugboat including the deck and engine room. With these images of vessels, we can identify possible risks and mitigate them, as well as have more precision in the investigation of accidents and incidents. This is another important pillar of our HSE project”, emphasises the executive.

Recently, the Company started using artificial intelligence (AI) in three ports: Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Vitória (ES) and Santos (SP). The software was developed by Wilson Sons in partnership with startups, and contributes to more agile and safer manoeuver planning. The goal is to implement AI in all 37 port and terminal locations where the Company operates by the end of this year. With the use of AI, the Company also intends to identify deviations and unsafe conditions in real time from the images captured by on-board cameras allowing rapid response and avoiding accidents and incidents.

Wilson Sons also benefits from its Tugboat Operations Centre (COR), created in 2012. The centre monitors the fleet 24/7. “With the COR we can better plan the manoeuvres, allocate the most suitable tugs for the operations, dispatch our fleet at the right time and at the right speed, reduce emissions, and ensure that navigation is carried out with sufficient draft and at secure distances from obstacles in the port channels where we operate,” he concludes.
Source: Wilson Sons

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