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Friday, July 9, 2021 

Marine operations software provider Helm Operations of Canada has launched Helm Connect Work Rest, a new set of tools to help companies combat crew fatigue and ensure rest time compliance allowing them to efficiently manage onboard work schedules from a single screen. 

Focused on freeing busy crews from unnecessary paperwork and complex spreadsheets, Helm promises the new tool will let companies plan, forecast, and manage their work-rest easily, guaranteeing their crew rest times are compliant with STCW rules or their own corporate standards. Regulators have implemented stringent work-rest tracking requirements, including ILO 180, the IMO’s STCW 2010 Manila Amendments, MLC 2013, and the US’s Subchapter M. These rules require captains and operators to carefully manage crew shifts in an effort to manage fatigue and minimise accidents.

Helm’s Steve Robertson said: “Vessel and port operations are highly complex, and crew often pick up additional work or participate in drills that delay or temporarily reduce their rest time,” says Mr. Robertson. “This makes tracking rest time and forecasting who is allowed to work a difficult task with significant repercussions, including increased risk of injuries, casualties, and liability, as well as increased oversight from regulators. During our research, we found that many companies still depend on paper logs or complex Excel sheets to manage work rest. Even in 2021, much of the industry is still using tools from 1984. The tedious and error-prone nature of recording work rest information on paper or in Excel means companies run the risk of not properly tracking rolling 24-hour periods of time, pencil whipping, or worse, not tracking their hours at all. All of these can lead to non-compliance, putting both crew safety and the company's reputation at risk. "

Helm Product Manager Shawn Verhagen said: “Our goal in building Helm Connect Work Rest was to take all those risks away and make configuring rest time rules, scheduling crew, and tracking, and forecasting work and rest time as simple as possible. The beauty of modern software that is we can take these surprisingly complex and difficult tasks, and turn them into a simple, visual workflow that ensures compliance in just three clicks. It’s a process that every mariner can do quickly, easily, and safely. In the case of the STCW rules, for example, we can apply them to a work schedule with a single click, making it easy for captains to see exactly what shifts their crews can and cannot work in order to stay compliant with international regulations.”

Bill Sullivan, Manager of Regulatory Compliance and Vessel Repair at Donjon Marine, said: "At Donjon, we used to prove STCW compliance by completing a daily task using a paper-based work rest template. Although it appeased the auditors, it seemed tedious and prone to ‘pencil whipping’. Helm Connect Work Rest has made my job easier by allowing me to create rules for compliance that will notify me when employees are not getting enough rest, ensuring we stay compliant and maintain a healthy workforce."

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