Safety and Risk Management
Risk is inherent in any small boat operation, where the possibility of accident and injury is a constant presence. Operational Risk Management (ORM) is designed to help crewmembers assess the risks involved in any operation, evaluate the consequences of a unfavorable outcome, and pre-stage mitigation specific to each risk identified.
The goal of NOAA Small Boat Operational Risk Management is to support the highest level of safety and environmental stewardship among the small boat community.
Operational Risk Management is actually the formalized name for an ability we use in everyday life, often without consciously thinking about the process. If you’ve ever hesitated to cross a street at a complicated intersection, then you’ve used all the steps found in a good risk management plan.
The goal of Operational Risk Management aboard a small boat is to:
- Identify the risks involved in your operation
- Consider the consequences that could stem from each bad outcome
- Decide if the consequences are acceptable or unacceptable
- If the consequences are unacceptable, either mitigate the risks, or stop operations
For NOAA small boat operations, a complete Operational Risk Management plan has three elements:
- A formalized document that catalogues the small boat and components of operational personnel, systems, material condition and capabilities, called a Baseline Assessment.
- A formalized document that catalogues the measures of success and potential hazards of a project or task, and the associated mission requirements, tools, gear and personnel, called a Mission Risk Assessment.
- Assessments must be provided for each vessel, and reviewed annually
- Download the Baseline Assessment Form
- Download the Mission Risk Assessment Form
- The Baseline and Mission Risk Assessments must be placed within the Small Boat Operations Manual
- A document used to make daily go/no-go decision, called an Operational Risk Assessment
- The NOAA Small Boat Operational Risk Assessment (GAR) Form, is the method used to conduct an operational risk assessment
- The GAR is completed prior to leaving the pier or ship
- The specific risks found in the Baseline and Mission Rick Assessments are used to assess each category contained within the GAR
To report an near miss or accident, use the NOAA Safety Incident Reporting System. Log into the secure site using NOAA email credentials.
The SBSB charter requires Board review of all incident and accident reports. The SBSB must assure that appropriate investigative and corrective actions have been taken. Identifying lessons learned is key to all incident investigations. The investigation team will develop lessons learned and suggested corrective actions. The SBSB uses an incident response flowchart to determine the next steps.