On the occasion of the World Day for Safety and Health at work, our Port Safety specialist Koen Cornilly describes how PAI supports the development of safety systems in a Port environment. In the Port Autonome de Cotonou, Koen coordinates the implementation of a safety strategy corresponding to the ISO norm 45001. The three steps to approach safety at work are present in his approach.


1 – Prepare – “First up, we map and identify all the different activities that are carried out in the port. Based on these findings, we develop procedures, including risk analysis, frequent inspections and plans of action for each procedure.

2 – Anticipate – Next, we apply the “hierarchy of controls” to identified risks. This means you can either eliminate the risk, replace procedures or materials, reorganise work processes, educate and control or offer personal protective equipment. Campaigns, such as this one, to create awareness, also play a very important role. It’s a continuous task and active responsibility to look for opportunities for safety improvement.

3 – Respond – “With these steps, we’re ready to act quick if a crisis hits. Everyone in the port, according to his or her role, is prepared to respond adequately. These events serve as well for research to improve in the areas of health & security.

I can’t stress enough the importance of constant evaluation, regular internal and external audits and management reviews to keep improving your Health, Safety & Security at work.

At Port Autonome de Cotonou, this whole process has been a cooperation with the PAI experts and the HSS department. We prepared a lot of the manuals and procedures in Antwerp, with execution, finetuning, implementation & follow up in Cotonou. I look forward to my next visit and check up on-site!”