IADC Presents Safety Award 2012 to DEME (Belgium)

IADC Presents Safety Award 2012 to DEME

Each year the International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC) singles out a specific project or programme amongst its member companies as an example of excellence in safety.

This year the IADC Board is happy to announce that the 2012 Safety Award has been presented to DEME nv for the implementation of a new company-wide safety awareness programme, CHILD.

CHILD (Colleagues, Help Injuries to Leave DEME) is an ambitious safety and prevention project, aiming to increase awareness for dangerous situations and safe behaviour in the workplace; to instil personal responsibility, action and initiative; and to radically change the mind-set and corporate safety culture. The idea was to find an acronym that would appeal personally to everyone and to all cultures alike. On the other hand CHILD was to encourage colleagues to care for one another as they would for their own child.


Area Director Africa from Dredging International Lieven Durt accepted the award on behalf of DEME. In acknowledging the award, Mr Durt remarked:

This award was earned the hard way. Unfortunately, a tragic incident on one of the project sites was at the origin of the CHILD programme. One of our trainee tugboat deckhands, Simão Macanda, working at Soyo in northern Angola, was injured and died from his injuries. Simão was 53 years old and the father of eight children. This sent shockwaves through the company. Harsh evaluations by outside parties and difficult confrontations with ourselves followed.

The serious shortcomings that were identified challenged all of us. It was obvious that a profound change of safety culture was needed – a change in the way we all see safety. This new mind-set required an increased individual awareness in the first place – from top management to site operator.

Ultimately, after a universal effort on all levels of the company, many brainstorming sessions and consultations, CHILD was born. Top management gave the starting shot in the form of a letter from the CEO, Alain Bernard. This was distributed worldwide among head office, area directors, project managers, site offices, regional desks, vessels, staff and crew. Nowadays safety is the talk-of-the-day on every project, every day. By creating the right environment for its CHILD, DEME is providing a brighter, long-lasting and safer future for the whole family”.

The IADC Board felt that the CHILD programme deserved this year’s award as it answered the age-old question, “How to reach over 4,000 individuals of different cultures and backgrounds in a large corporate structure and how do you then get every single person to take responsibility and initiative for his or her own safety and for the safety of their colleagues?”


Press Release, September 27, 2012