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B.C. Ferries improves safety practices

B.C. Ferries is on course to implementing all 41 recommendations from a 2007 operational safety audit.

The audit, conducted by former B.C. auditor general George Morfitt, included recommendations on safety training, risk identification, crowd management, incident reports and investigations, fire and boat drills, training for superintendents and terminal managers, and shift changes.

In a 73-page follow-up review, Morfitt noted there was significant improvement in safety cultures and practices within B.C. Ferries.

Of the 41 recommendations, 28 were fully implemented and 12 partially implemented.

A recommendation on the company’s external reporting of its operational safety objective achievements remains outstanding.

“The company directors, management and staff have demonstrated their commitment to safety being number one both for the travelling public and for B.C. Ferries personnel,” Morfitt said in his review. “Considering that many of our recommendations were of a complex nature and necessarily would take a considerable time to implement, the progress to date made by the company in respect of the recommendations is highly commendable.”

Mike Corrigan, B.C. Ferries president and CEO, said the corporation is committed to implementing all the recommendations.

“Safety is fundamental to everything we do and the big thing is the improvements we’ve made in a five-year period,” he said. “With 185,000 sailings a year, it’s no small feat to get a glowing report from Mr. Morfitt.”

Corrigan points to the work between B.C. Ferries and the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union as a major reason for the improvements.

“We had to change the safety culture at B.C. Ferries,” he said. “The original report was critical of the relationship between management and union, but we put together the SailSafe program and have become equal partners in the safety rebuild.

“We want to be the best we can be in every aspect and that means continuing to be diligent every day.”

Morfitt’s follow-up review is available at www.bcferries.com/files/AboutBCF/Morfitt_Safety_and_BC_Ferries_Report.pdf.

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