Safety Committee

The Shipping Act requires to have a safety committee (SC) on board each vessel, not being a fishing vessel or a ship with a crew of less than 5 persons, § 2 Schepenwet (Dutch).

The task of the SC is to advise the captain on measures to prevent occupational accidents on board.

The composition of the SC is clarified in the Netherlands Regulation Safety Seagoing Vessels Article 29 Regeling veiligheid zeeschepen (Dutch).

 Minimum composition safety committee
 Crew > 15 persons  1 officer and 1 rating
 Crew > 5 persons but < 15 persons  1 officer or 1 rating
 Crew < 5 persons  No SC required

The captain nominates the members of the SC, Article 26g Schepenwet (Dutch).

The Netherlands Regulation Safety Seagoing Vessels states that only crewmembers can have a seat in the SC. The captain is not covered by the definition of crewmember* and therefore he cannot formally be part of the SC.

The recommendations made by the SC should be followed up by the Company, as stated in paragraph 9 of the International Safety Management Code (applicable to ships of 500 GT or more which are covered by SOLAS):

9.1 The SMS should include procedures ensuring that non-conformities, accidents and hazardous situations are reported to the Company, investigated and analyzed with the objective of improving safety and pollution prevention.

9.2The Company should establish procedures for the implementation of corrective action, including measures intended to prevent recurrence.

A useful source of relevant, in-depth information on safe working practices can be found in the edition Dat is juist! on the website of Scheepvaartnet. Chapter 6 deals with the shipboard safety committee.

* Ships Act article 1: crew members: all, who are on board as ship’s officers or ratings or who have contracted as such.