07 Apr 2020
Peter Rowand
Marketing and Business Development

Helpful tips to keep your crew safe during COVID-19 using Helm CONNECT

Helping your crew to stay safe during these uncertain times can be a challenge. While you can provide them with the right tools and supplies to do so, how do you achieve that with your business processes and operations? Well, we think Helm CONNECT can help. Here are four ways you can use Helm CONNECT to help keep your crew safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.


1 – Create a daily or bi-daily cleaning inspection checklist with Helm CONNECT Maintenance

Keep your crew safe during COVID-19 with a daily or bi-daily cleaning inspection checklistMany of your vessels already complete a daily cleaning procedure, but it may be beneficial to enhance your checklists to help commonly used areas get properly sanitized. An Inspection template is the ideal tool to help you accomplish this, since you can create one template and simply publish it to your entire fleet. As the situation continues to change, you can adapt the procedures in the template, and, with one click, publish the updated checklist to all of your vessels.

In addition to listing cleaning tasks, the inspection checklists can also include reference materials, instructions on how to use the appropriate cleaning solutions and personal protective equipment (PPE), and more. Check out this image for an example of a cleaning checklist we created.

(Please note this is just an example – we recommend you do your own research on the proper cleaning precautions to protect your crew against the transmission of COVID-19.) 

Having a cleaning checklist like this in place not only increases safety measures onboard, but also reassures your staff on shore that vessels are being cleaned and maintained adequately. To see how a cleaning checklist can be triggered specifically during crew changes, scroll down to #4.


2 – Share and update policies and procedures with the Documents module in Helm CONNECT Compliance

Keep your crew safe during COVID-19 by sharing new policies and procedures using the Documents module in Helm CONNECT ComplianceIt’s important to make sure your crew is up to date on the latest COVID-19 policies and procedures the industry is now enforcing. Knowing if they’ve actually read that documentation can be a tricky question to answer if you aren’t using the Documents module in Helm CONNECT Compliance. Within this module, you can add industry policies and procedures as documents, set them to require acknowledgment by either asset or individual user, then publish them out to all your vessels. When you publish the document, crew on the vessels will see a notification icon on the Onboard > Documents > Library tab that the document needs to be acknowledged. They can then click the document item, read it on screen or print it, and click the Acknowledge button. Staff on shore can track who’s acknowledged the documents and publish updated versions as required.


3 – Log PPE inventory in the Inventory module of Helm CONNECT Maintenance

Keep your crew safe during COVID-19 by logging PPE inventory in the Inventory module of Helm CONNECT MaintenanceTo help keep your crew safe, you may need to add additional PPE to your vessel and determine the minimum quantities required onboard at all times, especially if you’re an operator that interacts with outside personnel frequently. You can do this by adding the necessary PPE equipment to your inventory, then using an inventory checklist onboard your vessels to track their quantities. If you also subscribe to the Requisitions module, your inventory checklists can be configured to automatically trigger a requisition for those supplies when they drop below the minimum level. Crew onboard can also submit requisitions manually and track the status of their orders.

Having this set up in the system allows staff on shore to assess readiness and supply counts across your company’s entire fleet to make sure every vessel has the adequate levels of supplies needed to stay safe.


4 – Update standard forms or create new ones using the Forms module in Helm CONNECT Compliance

The final recommendation we have is to create new forms or update existing ones to include safety measures for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here are a few examples:


Crew Change FormCrew Change Form

Your crew change form is probably the first form you’ll want to create or update to include any tasks the incoming crew should perform, such as symptom checks, completing a COVID-19 related questionnaire, cleaning inspections (like the one discussed in #1), or reading about social distancing best practices. If you subscribe to Helm CONNECT Personnel, you can set the form to be automatically triggered by every crew change to help ensure the tasks are completed consistently. For more information, check out this article.



Job Safety Analysis (JSA) Form Job Safety Analysis (JSA) Form 

If your crew are in contact with personnel from other companies, it may be valuable to create a new JSA form (see example below) or update your current one to include a COVID-19 symptom screening of outside personnel before your crew begin working with them. Doing so could be an important step in protecting your crew and minimizing the risk of them contracting the virus.



Symptomatic Seagoing Personnel  Symptomatic Seagoing Personnel 

The final form you should be prepared to have is for symptomatic seagoing personnel. If someone onboard begins to show symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, you need to have a procedure in place to minimize the risk of a transmission, and this procedure can be documented in a form like the one below.



There you have it. Those are our top four recommendations of ways you can use Helm CONNECT to help with crew safety during the COVID-19 outbreak. We hope that you find them useful! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out, as we’d love to help. Don’t forget, we’re still offering our Here to Help packages for current customers who sign up before April 30th. Register today to get your five free remote training or consulting hours which could be used for things such as setting up any of these recommendations in your Helm CONNECT environment. See you next time, and don’t forget to wash your hands!