The “K” LINE Group takes a firm stand in the first part of its Charter of Conduct that it will consistently respect human rights and well consider personality, individuality and diversity of its corporate members and improve work safety and conditions to offer them comfort and affluence.
Particularly, eradication of occupational accidents is the fundamental for safe and economical operation. In order to raise each member’s safety awareness and secure the safety on board, the Company has introduced safety experience trainings and/or hazard prediction trainings. In addition, the Company gathers examples of incidents, through near-miss reports, etc., that have not been tangible but have had potential risks. Such information is shared internally so that it may help enhanced safety in navigation and cargo operations.
In the meantime, the “K” LINE Group strives not to violate fundamental rights of seafarers on board by complying with Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC2006). The convention was adopted in February 2006 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), as a comprehensive international employment convention containing seafarers’ fundamental rights set out below;
- Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
- The elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour;
- The effective abolition of child labour; and
- The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Creating Opportunities to Contact Families―Ocean Duties
Before we could access the Internet on the ship, we contacted families using satellite phones and private email, where the number of messages sent/received was limited. For our maritime technical personnel, who work far away from their families, this was an anxious situation.
To help our seafarers work with peace of mind despite being far away from their families, we established in-vessel Internet environments enabling individuals to use smartphones and PCs to contact families and friends by email, SNS, and the like.
We also help cover travel and accommodation expenses so that families of workers can come to our vessels when they enter ports in Japan and overseas.
In addition, we have established a system allowing families to board our vessels during certain time periods, which gives peace of mind to both our personnel and their families. In these ways, we strive to ensure that our maritime technical personnel can do high-quality work.
On-Vessel Living Environments
Since ship-based living quarters and working environments are so close together, seafarers need to be able to adjust on duty and off duty. We endeavor to help seafarers take proper rest in various ways. These give them opportunities to exercise, reading books, and watching DVD movies on their free time. For fitness, we have onboard gymnasiums, and we subsidize the cost by purchasing recreational equipment.
Daily meals play an important role in ship-based living, and for this reason we employ foreign cooks to prepare onboard meals. Our cooks are trained at the “K” Line Maritime Academy (KLMA) in Manila, Philippines, underscoring our efforts to provide well-balanced, highly nutritious meals to our seafarers onboard.
We also regularly distribute menu recipes from Japanese cooks with rich onboard experience to each of our vessels, allowing to offer a wider variety of meals.
In order to create bright and pleasant working environment for our seafarers, from time to time, we plan and organize recreational events and parties with participation by all crew members, regardless of nationality.
Seafarers Safety and Health
Based on laws, we set up a system for safety and health for seafarers’, with a seafarer’s health committee on shore and a vessel safety and health committee onboard vessels. We promote operational safety and health in cooperation with ship management companies and relevant departments. The vessel safety and health committee studies and deliberates how to best maintain seafarers’ living and working conditions onboard, prevention of occurrences and/or recurrences that may affect seafarers’ health as well as giving proper training in safety and health.
We were certified as a good company for seafarers’ industrial accident prevention in 2008.
Safety and Health Considerations
Initiatives to Prevent Occupational Accidents at Sea
While at sea, we conduct pre-work/tool-box meetings every morning to help preventing occupational accidents. We also hold monthly working management committees to ensure that we are thoroughly prepared in the event of emergency and dangerous situations onboard. In addition, we regularly distribute letters from our marine safety supervisors to all vessels to keep our seafarers mindful and aware of issues related to occupational accidents, safety, and health. We also distribute radio calisthenics CDs to encourage pre-work warming up for injury prevention.
In addition, our seafarers are required to attend safety- and health-related training.
Prevention of Overworking
To prevent overwork at sea, we have introduced a labor management and reporting system to consider appropriate load-sharing of task so that our seafarers do not assume excessive workloads. We also arrange ship operational schedules and increase the number of personnel onboard as necessary to prevent unreasonable working situations.
Since it is not possible to visit shore medical facilities while at sea, it is extremely important that our maritime technical personnel are healthy both physically and mentally. They are required to undertake a medical examination prior to embarkation, as well as annual examinations covering items beyond those mandated legally.
We keep secure records of medical examination data at the Company in order to refer and grasp the health status of our various maritime technical personnel.
As for the mental health of maritime technical personnel, in addition to training courses conducted by external qualified people, we have the system that superintendent (described later) regularly announces safety related information and collaboration with our own industrial physicians.
Initiative to Prevent Passive Smoking
In our new containerships, each with a capacity of 14,000 containers, we are modifying the specifications to permit trialed separation of smoking and non-smoking areas. We will also set up smoking rooms to preventing passive smoking.
Our aim is to have pleasant environments where smokers and nonsmokers can spend their time comfortably while onboard.
Safety and Health Management Guidance through Ship Visits
Seeking improve the overall safety and health of our seafarers, we have assigned marine safety supervisors to our Marine Human Resource Group. The maritime safety supervisors will visit the ships when at port and provide guidance related to safety and health management. During such visits, we also conduct personal interviews to ensure our seafarers are in good mental health. In addition, we encourage our seafarers to engage in radio calisthenics prior to starting work each day for health keeping and injury prevention.
Enhancing Interviews Conducted by Personnel
Unlike regular workplaces, our maritime technical personnel experience closed living conditions while working at sea. Once onboard, moreover, they are normally at sea for six-month periods. For this reason, we always have HR personnel conduct telephone interviews with our seafarers to gain feedbacks focusing on life after his/her disembarkation, life at sea, personal relationships, and anything else they feel is worth mentioning. Where deemed necessary, moreover, we conduct face-to-face interviews. Through these action, we endeavor to alleviate the concerns of our maritime technical personnel while monitoring the condition of our company workplaces.