PacTow’s ‘Gender Smart Safety’ program will commence in January 2020.
A resource developed by the Business Coalition for Women (BCFW), the program was piloted by Oil Search, St Barbara’s Simberi operation and New Britain Palm Oil Ltd.
General Manager, Neil Papenfus, understands the relationship between maximising the workplace safety of female staff and female employee retention. “Women will understandably pursue alternate employment options if their safety is not assured” he says. “Maximising the workplace safety of female staff, whether it’s on vessels at sea, down on the wharves, or in the office is essential. We have heavily invested in programs to increase the number of women we employ and there is no way we’re going to jeopardise that investment.”
Gender Smart Safety is based on the premise that women experience some different workplace safety issues to men. As such, the program requires that women be much more involved in workplace safety (e.g., hazard identification, risk assessment, risk mitigation), including decision making and the overall safety management function.
Although the focus of the program is on maximising the workplace safety of women, feedback from piloting companies reveals that it improves the safety of ALL employees – women AND men. Importantly, many of the recommendations for safety improvements are relatively simple and low cost.
Workplace safety in the maritime sector has long been a function largely managed by men and performed by men for predominantly male workforces. As such, the specific safety requirements of women have often gone unnoticed. This is why PacTow HR Manager Anna Ingip, who has a background in workplace safety, reports that workplaces are often safer for male employees than female employees. “A lot of women’s workplace safety concerns like poorly fitting PPE, inadequate lighting, machinery operating dimensions and mechanisms that don’t accommodate generally smaller and less muscular female bodies, as well as working with chemicals when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding risk being overlooked – hence the need for Gender Smart Safety.”
Pacific Towing is a marine services business headquartered in PNG with additional businesses in Fiji and Solomon Islands. The company services Oceania as well as South East Asia. To learn more about Pacific Towing: www.pacifictowingmarineservices.com.