Panorama

Satanic Mechanic
21st April 2009, 22:00
Did anyone see the program last night on Health and Safety and why it has become a laughing stock/ gravy train/ obscene offspring of a noble parent.

Well BP Shipping represents that and then some with their policies - I hope some of the idiots in the office/ senior management took some notice. They probably didn't mind, but it would be nice if they remembered the phrase all over the original legislation - "Reasonable Practicality" - i.e. we can actually think for ourselves
(Cloud)

James_C
22nd April 2009, 00:19
Satanic Mechanic,
You know as well as I do that anyone who would dare to speak out against such policies/people within that organisation are automatically labelled as the likes of a thought criminal/unhelpful/no team ethic etc etc.
One of the main reasons I got out.

Satanic Mechanic
22nd April 2009, 09:07
Satanic Mechanic,
You know as well as I do that anyone who would dare to speak out against such policies/people within that organisation are automatically labelled as the likes of a thought criminal/unhelpful/no team ethic etc etc.
One of the main reasons I got out.

Your amongst friends James (Thumb)

Tell me, were you still about for the excruciatingly embarrassing ASA scheme or the even worse and possibly final nail for me - the 'Safety Moment'

Did you manage to get out before you were deemed a 'deviant thinker' or a ' menace to safety' etc etc

James_C
22nd April 2009, 10:23
They'd not long brought in the laughable concept that was ASA when I left, although I'm led to believe it's metamorphisised into something else now.
I remember looking through the form one day after we were told we *had* to do 2 a month, as one of the Indian ships had been submitting something incredible like 80 SLCO3's/month and many dozens of ASA's (none of them flogged I'm sure).
If I remember rightly there was a column in which you were to record the reaction/actual activity of the person you were interrogating, one of those ticky boxes was "dodging/hiding". Said it all really, what a crock of ****.
Things like the 'Stair Code', 'Door Code' and other nonsense like that really was the final straw - Bullsh*t baffles brains right enough.
I recall a safety moment down in Sunbury (on my only visit to the new office) for a 2 day brainwashing session (Seastaff Workshop). All the main men were there, including Uncle Bob and his Yank entourage plus of course his poodle (Dave W - a real creep). They asked for a safety moment before we started the meeting, and one of the lads at the back (whose Father is on this site) shouted out "Don't eat yellow snow!". Uncle Bob didn't quite get it but the rest were fuming, it was like being in a school classroom with the reaction. Hahaha.
I legged it shortly afterwards, life in the real world is so much more pleasant!

twogrumpy
22nd April 2009, 10:50
Sounds like 86 was a good year to get out.
I can only wonder how we ever got from A to B.
(Cloud)

Satanic Mechanic
22nd April 2009, 13:08
They'd not long brought in the laughable concept that was ASA when I left, although I'm led to believe it's metamorphisised into something else now.
I remember looking through the form one day after we were told we *had* to do 2 a month, as one of the Indian ships had been submitting something incredible like 80 SLCO3's/month and many dozens of ASA's (none of them flogged I'm sure).
If I remember rightly there was a column in which you were to record the reaction/actual activity of the person you were interrogating, one of those ticky boxes was "dodging/hiding". Said it all really, what a crock of ****.
Things like the 'Stair Code', 'Door Code' and other nonsense like that really was the final straw - Bullsh*t baffles brains right enough.
I recall a safety moment down in Sunbury (on my only visit to the new office) for a 2 day brainwashing session (Seastaff Workshop). All the main men were there, including Uncle Bob and his Yank entourage plus of course his poodle (Dave W - a real creep). They asked for a safety moment before we started the meeting, and one of the lads at the back (whose Father is on this site) shouted out "Don't eat yellow snow!". Uncle Bob didn't quite get it but the rest were fuming, it was like being in a school classroom with the reaction. Hahaha.
I legged it shortly afterwards, life in the real world is so much more pleasant!

I never did one ASA - just too embarrassing

Arrgghh - Not the stair code - What was to turn out to be my last time in the office in Sunbury I went down the stairs two at a time while rotating not holding onto any hand rails and with a finger on each hand held aloft.

Don't forget the coffee code

What was most distressing is that people actually believed that this was safety and that were willing to accept be treated like this - they really had been shorn of all personal pride.

Dave W - of course famous for complaining in writing in an official report that he wasn't greeted onboard a certain vessel by the ships company dressed in full uniform - ****** of the highest order.
Bob F - yes I can also provide you with a copy of that report as well - I got a copy of a bp Oil Rig where they thought it most amusing

Satanic Mechanic
22nd April 2009, 13:09
Sounds like 86 was a good year to get out.
I can only wonder how we ever got from A to B.
(Cloud)

You'd have been fine up till around 2000 - then it really went into freefall. The 90's were still pretty good fun

James_C
22nd April 2009, 13:36
I never did one ASA - just too embarrassing
Arrgghh - Not the stair code - What was to turn out to be my last time in the office in Sunbury I went down the stairs two at a time while rotating not holding onto any hand rails and with a finger on each hand held aloft.
Don't forget the coffee code
What was most distressing is that people actually believed that this was safety and that were willing to accept be treated like this - they really had been shorn of all personal pride.
Dave W - of course famous for complaining in writing in an official report that he wasn't greeted onboard a certain vessel by the ships company dressed in full uniform - ****** of the highest order.
Bob F - yes I can also provide you with a copy of that report as well - I got a copy of a bp Oil Rig where they thought it most amusing

Ah the coffee code, I remember a load of us were bollocked in Sunbury because we asked for Black coffees. This apparently was 'racist' and the correct term was 'with or without cream'. The same way as it was verboten to say you were going for a smoke, that was a 'comfort break', and when you were having a meeting with someone you were 'touching base'.
Stopping ships for a few days and sending out an investigation team because someone had hit his hand with a hammer, or the like and interviewing everyone onboard from Old Man to Steward as to the 'safety culture' onboard. They made out that these investigations were impartial but it was always a witch hunt, with those "responsible" for hurting themselves punished accordingly. Then we had the utterly laughable LTI/DAFWAC figures. I was on several ships where we had accidents where men were medically paid off/placed on restricted duties etc and where these incidents were ignored by the Office staff because the ship was approaching X million man hours milestone - all utter fabrication.
It really was enough to make you vomit. As you say, the Office staff treated the crews like dirt, however very few were willing to speak up about it.
As regards the dirty water in Indonesia episode, I was on her sistership at the time, and the phone call from the Office came through during my afternoon watch. I answered it and (DW I think) asked to speak to the Old Man, got him up, he answered and said to me to send out a PA to get all the lads into the conference room ASAP for a fleetwide call. We thought we'd lost a ship, sounded really serious.
I wasn't privy to the phone call as I was of course on the bridge, but if you remember they had every ship on the line - regardless of time zone or what they were doing at the time (Purpose was in the Taiwan strait in thick fog as I recall), anyway a few of the lads popped up to give me the rundown on what was said. They all pointed out that Uncle Bob sounded really angry etc, and that it sounded like he was speaking for himself etc. A few minutes later a transcript of the speech came through on the email - so it obviously wasn't as off the cuff as it had been made out to be. That email DW sent to the fleet mentioning what he'd "found" upon arrival in Kaohsiung was worse than a bad joke - what stunned me was that they named the 3/E at the bottom of it, until that point we hadn't been sure who'd blown the whistle. The manner in which it was done absolutely stank and it wouldn't surprise me to know that he's ended up in the office or some other cushy number, he wasn't well thought of beforehand anyway.
Apparently they were all disappointed in the 'state' of the ship, however she wasn't much worse than the other 3 - chronic underinvestment since a certain individual took over in 2003. Then shock horror she suddenly had money lavished on her, yet the other 3 still suffered. We also had an Auditor sail with us for a month auditing our Oil Record books. This chap was treated with some suspicion as you can imagine but turned out to be a top notch bloke, good laugh in the bar and a devil on the Guitar.
Could you send me the report on that one? I never did make a copy, and it would amuse/shock some of my cohorts as to the state and mentality of the company at the time.
I did one more trip after that on a Bird boat, one of only 3 Brits aboard and me the longest serving company man on the ship! Enough was enough, and I left for pastures new - one of the best decisions I've ever made.
As you mentioned, it was still a good crack on the the R, S and A classes until their demise, it seems I was never a good enough boy to get sent on the E, H or Gas ships and only ended up on a new ship (cough) like the P boat and the Birdie by default.

Satanic Mechanic
22nd April 2009, 13:52
Chronic underinvestment by a particularly spineless super - who if memory serves was once seen running away out of Shields College with a certain Electrical Super when a colleague of mine took him to task on a number of issues. He then went crying to management about he had been made to look stupid in front of Junior Staff!!!!!

I'll think about the report - it just might be a bit traceable - if you get my drift!!!


Where I am now - I am about as happy as it is to be, of course I started off at near rock bottom happiness level so you could have put in my own special circle of Hell and it would have been an improvement, but despite that for the first time in about 6 years I am actually happy working again - with professionals and not self serving enthusiastic amateurs - Looking back I still wonder how I put up with that companies crap for so long and I wonder how there are those who still do

twogrumpy
23rd April 2009, 10:26
You'd have been fine up till around 2000 - then it really went into freefall. The 90's were still pretty good fun
Quite possibly.

I largely enjoyed my 18 years, but towards the end my feeling for the job had started to decline, so best out of it.
There should be a happy ballance in H&S, big firms like BP tend to go OTT, then they have the money to fund the required bull***t, sorry organisation that is required. Did 11 years with a major pharmaceutical outfit, they had much the same attitude, then again lodsa money.
Present employer, ho ho, look after yourself.
PC attitude with them much the same, told a yarn about a French onion seller complete with bicycle riding on the hard shoulder of the M27, and was told that "we are a multinational company, and do not joke about things like that", sad.
Would I do my time again, too bloody right.
(Cloud)

Plane Sailing
23rd April 2009, 20:32
As you say, the Office staff treated the crews like dirt, however very few were willing to speak up about it.


That was one of the main reasons I left, too. I did speak up about it though (to the boss of DML as it was in those days), which pretty well marked my card as "one of the undesirables".

This whole QA/SMS has become a bit of a Frankenstein monster. Created to serve the operation but instead we all end up serving it. It effectively regulated all the enjoyment and fun out of the job, a job I used to take a great deal of pride in doing well; and by doing well I also mean doing as safely as possible without the need to fill in reams of paperwork.

Doesn't a Certificate of Competency mean that we have demonstrated that we are responsible and competent to do the job without having the office continually hold our hands and peer over our shoulders? Life at sea is inherently dangerous and no end of risk assessment waving will change that - just ask any insurance salesman where seafarers are in his scale of hazardous occupations! All that can be done is to minimise the chances of something going wrong but if you want to eliminate the risk, well don't operate ships. There's none of us perfect, which means that combined with a hazardous environment, bad things will occasionally happen.

I used to believe that to be a good Officer meant you had to be adaptable and able to think outside the box, but the whole culture has changed and now you need to mutate into a company clone who is able to recite volumes of procedures and manuals and NEVER, EVER, to think for yourself without the office's permission (probably in triplicate).

No wonder so many people left.

Okay, rant mode off - what do current personnel say about the present BP culture?

James_C
23rd April 2009, 20:43
Plane Sailing,
You're amongst kindred spirits!
I know a few lads who are still with BP (most have left) and occasionally I get a look at the crewlists and I really struggle to recognise any of the names. I didn't know everyone by any stretch of the imagination, but at least those names you didn't know you'd generally heard of.
They reckoned that circa 2000 they had about 500 British Officers serving on 20 ships, now they've got about 3 times that number with 150 Brits and most of them new recruits. It just shows how things have changed.
Most of the lads I know still there are either just biding their time before moving onto pastures new or are just there because of the Mortgage.
When did you pack it in?

Plane Sailing
23rd April 2009, 21:09
I left in 2001, very disillusioned with being lied to and generally treated like dirt. Took it personally for a while but then realised there were a lot of others in the same boat, if you'll pardon the pun. BP's loss at the end of the day.

I'm a great believer that people are a company's greatest asset and you abuse them at your peril.

Have to agree with you that many stay only because of the mortgage and certainly not out of any loyalty towards the company.

george jackson
24th April 2009, 05:55
(Cloud)

Bill Davies
24th April 2009, 07:57
I left in 2001, very disillusioned with being lied to and generally treated like dirt. Took it personally for a while but then realised there were a lot of others in the same boat, if you'll pardon the pun. BP's loss at the end of the day.

I'm a great believer that people are a company's greatest asset and you abuse them at your peril.

Have to agree with you that many stay only because of the mortgage and certainly not out of any loyalty towards the company.

Well Plane Sailing,
You should be thankfull you got a lot more mileage out of your company than others did. It is all very sad that the deception lasted so long.

Bill

george jackson
24th April 2009, 10:34
I joined the company( British Tanker Co. as it was then) in 1954 as an engineer apprentice and the nearest I got to OH&S was in 1956 on the British Gratitude. We had Fire drill once a fortnight and Lifeboat drill (weather permitting of course!!) on the alternate week. We were expected to be responsible for our own safety and that of others and the system seemed to work o.k.
I sympathise with you blokes who have had to put up with the official version of OH&S as I also have come up against shoreside here in Australia. Many jobs have been lost because of the massive expenditure spent on it without showing any positive gains. The only gains have been made by the OH&S "experts" who have read the book.

rodhaigh
29th April 2009, 14:00
Took a voyage on a tanker in the mid-nineties (as a supernumery), after almost 30 yrs away from them.
Felt quite at home when I saw them taking ullages with a wooden float on a piece of knotted yarn. Some things don't change.
Anyway apart from that, about 4 hrs prior to sailing I was having morning tea with the Master, (who had retired but was there as a casual because they were short handed) when the agent arrived with about 6 fat volumes, about a yard wide in total, which were the operating and safety procedures as recently required by the ISM code.
The Master was supposed to familiarise himself with these before the voyage commenced, however, he told me to start reading them as he was too busy making up the menus. Some things do change!
I guess that wWhen you are multi-skilled there are conflicting priorities.
Cheers
Rod H