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Sat 13 Dec 2008 04:00 AM

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Safety first

APM Terminals has outlined a comprehensive safety programme to eliminate the number of fatalities within its port facilities, explains chief executive officer Kim Fejfer.

APM Terminals has outlined a comprehensive safety programme to eliminate the number of fatalities within its port facilities, explains chief executive officer Kim Fejfer.

What is the "Global Safety Day"?

On 22nd October, APM Terminals observed our second annual Global Safety Day, when the 19,000 team members of the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network rededicated our commitment to safety practices, as individuals, and on behalf of our colleagues.

People are our most precious resource, and one that we must do a better job of protecting.

Global Safety Day is about people, and the way we can think, act, work and live safely as part of APM Terminals. This year's Global Safety Day will introduce a worldwide Safety Culture Workshop made up of eight modules that will take place over the course of the next six months.

What are the initiative's goals?

These modules will not be just time slots with reminders about training and procedures; the purpose of the Workshop sessions is to start and encourage an ongoing safety dialogue between all APM Terminals personnel, and also between APM Terminals and the outside community.

These are the people we deal with on a daily basis, including customers, truckers and suppliers, and we will be asking them what they can do to guarantee their own and their colleagues' wellbeing in the workplace.

The goal is to get people to make a personal effort to improve safety for themselves and to take responsibility for their actions, particularly as they affect others; "what will you do differently tomorrow to improve safety?" is a fundamental question posed by the programme.

What prompted APM Terminals to launch its safety initiative?

The safety of our personnel and partners is of paramount importance at APM Terminals. While there has been a tremendous emphasis in this industry on bigger ships, taller cranes and larger volumes, we cannot forget that in the end this business relies on the people that operate these vast pieces of machinery.

That is our most precious resource, and one that we must do a better job of protecting. We welcome the opportunity to share the enhancements and reforms this initiative will create.

How many deaths occurred at APM Terminals' facilities in the last two years, and where do injuries occur?

There were 10 deaths due to terminal accidents on APM Terminals' facilities in 2007, and there have been seven so far during 2008. These figures include personnel other than APM Terminals employees involved in terminal accidents.

Based on information available to APM Terminals, 38% of injuries occur either on board or near vessels and are related to vessel operations and container lashing activities.

Around 26% occur in the container yard area, and these injuries often involve truckers and terminal handling equipment. Up to 20% occur in the respective port's berthing area, while 8% are sustained in maintenance and repair workshop areas. Another 8% of injuries take place on other locations within the port.

Is the container terminal industry an inherently dangerous environment in which to work?

In any environment in which multi-tonne 20-foot and 40-foot objects are being moved from heights as tall as a 20-storey building, and are coordinated with simultaneous movements of trucks, rail cars, other terminal equipment and personnel, risk exists for potentially fatal workplace accidents.

Being passive to this danger and its attendant consequences, however, is unacceptable, and our goal as stated is to eliminate all fatalities and accidents.

Will APM Terminals make these safety procedures and "best practices" available to its competitors?

Industry best practices, safety awareness and training as performed and integrated into the operations of the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network would be applicable at least in some respects to any container terminal, and will certainly be incorporated into the established procedures of new facilities that we open in the months and years ahead.

In the area of terminal and personnel safety we do not have competitors - only industry partners - and APM Terminals will actively seek to cooperate with other terminal operators of any size and in any part of the world, to share best practices, and to work together towards the overall safety of the industry and that of our extremely highly valued personnel.

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