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Prioritising safety for customers and employees

Having won gold in Safety Excellence at the Global Tank Storage Awards, Odfjell Terminals Korea shares insights with Tank Storage Magazine into establishing an accident-free workplace.

The below is an article from Tank Storage Magazine, published on October 21, 2023.
Written by Anamika Talwaria

Odfjell Terminals Korea (OTK) was established as a subsidiary of Korea Petrochemical Company as part of a joint venture with Odfjell SE (Norway). Odfjell SE has over five decades of experience in tank terminal operations, currently owning three additional terminals at strategic locations in the US (Houston and Charleston) and Belgium (Antwerp).

Since OTK’s initial completion in 2002, three expansions were built in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

OTK is positioned as a competitive terminal in Korea, attracting various customers from both domestic and overseas regions. The terminal is located in the Port of Ulsan, which serves as the main hub for northeast Asia.

As Asia’s newest terminal, OTK boasts modern facilities for the storage and distribution of petrochemicals, acting as a distribution hub for China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

On top of OTK’s extensive terminal infrastructure – including 85 tanks with 313,710 cbm capacity, six berths with water depths of 9-14 m and 17 tank truck and Iso-container loading bays – the company prides itself on an impressive safety record.

‘Since starting our business in 2002, there has never been a fatality and we have had no LTI accident for seven years,’ says Gill YongChan, QHSE manager for Odfjell Terminals Korea. ‘This is possible because of our employees’ attitudes and awareness of safety, through the continuous development of various safety activities in collaboration with our parent company Odfjell SE, including education and training.’


Aerial view of Odfjell Terminals Korea

How Odfjell Terminals Korea established a culture of safety

The latest news from OTK is the facility’s gold win at the Global Tank Storage Awards in March 2023. ‘As part of a global network of Odfjell terminals, we set safety as our top priority and operate our terminal business by applying high quality safety and environmental standards,’ says YongChan.

This commitment to safety was rewarded at the glitzy awards gala, when OTK took home the gold trophy for Safety Excellence.

‘Being recognised for our safety performance means a lot to OTK and Odfjell’s global operations,’ explains YongChan.

For our customers, it plays a role in giving confidence and trust in Odfjell’s safety management. For our employees, it is a validation of the effort and time we have invested to improve safety management, and an opportunity to keep motivating our team to proceed at an even higher level of safety management.’

Since its establishment in 2001, Odfjell Terminals Korea has adhered to the core value of parent company Odfjell SE by making safety a top priority. ‘Safety is a core value of our business, and we have achieved a range of safety targets accordingly,’ says YongChan. ‘We applied to the Tank Storage Awards to see if these achievements could be recognised and evaluated on the global stage. We are very proud to have won gold.’

‘As part of a global network of Odfjell terminals, we set safety as our top priority and operate our terminal business by applying high quality, safety and environmental standards’

OTK’s safety management system comprehensively reflects its parent company’s standards, legal requirements, ISO, and CDI-T requirements. ‘We carry out safety activities such as SOR, near-miss, management team inspection, and work permits for field safety management. We also provide various education and training programmes, celebrate global safety day and run safety campaigns to raise safety awareness. Lastly, we operate safety programmes such as management of change, risk assessment, image training, and inspection before operation for preventive safety management.’

The OTK team accepts the Global Tank Storage Award for Safety Excellence at the 2023 event

Emergency drill

How Odfjell Terminals Korea continues to evaluate safety

The tank storage sector is on the brink of a transition, and that means safety processes need to be continuously evaluated and updated. A practice that was seen as perfectly usual and safe five or ten years ago may no longer be the industry standard.

‘Our terminal has the advantage of being able to access a global network. We play a pivotal role in liquid cargo trade around the world, in collaboration with our parent company Odfjell, which is a worldclass shipping company,’ says YongChan.

While it’s crucial to keep an eye on changing international standards, terminals must also assess their own practices to ensure they’ve established a culture of safety amongst workers, too.

“We evaluate all safety education and training we conduct and manage individual safety record cards’. 

In terms of facilities, OTK has established an annual inspection plan where any required maintenance work can be carried out. These records are managed and monitored. Any unsafe behaviours or conditions are inspected periodically. ‘In addition, our safety management level is continuously evaluated, confirmed, and managed through ISO, CDI-T, PSM (Process Safety Management) audits, internal and corporate audits. Improvement measures are implemented as needed,’ says YongChan.


Ensuring a safe future for Odfjell Terminals Korea

Winning the gold Safety Excellence award has been a fantastic way for OTK to be recognised on the global stage as a leader in safe practices. Looking to the future, YongChan lays out the role that safety has to play:

‘OTK will pursue continuous growth and development internally and externally to stay competitive. There is no change in the principle that safety must be guaranteed for such growth, so we will continue pursuing safety as a key factor in our business.’

With its record for no fatalities since opening and no LTI accidents in seven years, safety continues to be a top priority. ‘The most important thing is to keep our company as an accident-free workplace,’ says YoungChan. ‘The risk assessment review, various inspections, SOR, near-miss, and daily image training will be continuously carried out to find potential risks and ensure safe operation. On top of this, field safety management, MOC and safe work permits will also be thoroughly implemented to prevent accidents proactively.’

And when it comes to the future, the challenges of attracting new talent is one that OTK is tackling through enhancing safety measure.

‘We aim to make Odfjell Terminals Korea an even more attractive workplace by continuously seeking opportunities and methods that enhance safety awareness and culture,’ says YongChan.

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