Safety first Mike Bradshaw tells IMT’s Quality Operator delegates

“We must put safety first if we are to run safe, reliable and efficient fleets,” Mike Bradshaw, head of compliance for V.Group’s marine operations told delegates at IMT’s Quality Operator event in London today. “And to do this, we must attract and retain the best people – both at sea and ashore.”

Mike’s presentation was part of a panel discussion on strategies in moving to a zero incident environment and outlined V.Group’s actions to underpin safety performance. In 2015, over 6,000 seafarers and shore based employees told us how we can improve safety in a safety culture survey.

“I stood here in 2015 addressing this same audience having learned that high performance in personal injury statistics, Port State Control and vetting were not indicators that would prevent high impact, low frequency incidents,” said Mike.

“Our challenge was to understand what more we could do as an organisation given that insurers tell us that 80 per cent of accidents are caused by human error. Partnering with Lloyd’s Register we were able to conclude from the results of our safety climate survey that while we compared favourably to the benchmark results, there were areas where we could improve.”


“The results gave us local areas to be tackled,” explained Mike, “and there were some common areas for improvement.” The results of the report were taken on the road, with the Compliance team visiting the technical management and crewing offices, holding workshops with staff members to further explore the feedback and to collaboratively develop solutions.

“One of the key interventions was the need to strengthen the ‘stop the job’ confidence of our seafarers,” Mike told the audience. “Every single person is empowered to stop the job – regardless of rank or role – and the safety workshops gave us the opportunity to really show we mean this.”

A significant learning from the survey was the importance of visible leadership and as well as conducting over two hundred senior leader vessel visits this year, we have also launched a fleet manager development programme, again in partnership with Lloyd’s Register Consulting.

“Of course maintaining momentum is always hard, added Mike. “To help do this, we have created local Safe Culture teams who are taking ownership and developing local solutions for local problems. The local groups use the collaborative platform Yammer to share ideas, ask questions and this is helping to not only maintain momentum but build it. With success stories being shared across the business, we are seeing a tremendous enthusiasm for taking V.Group on the trajectory to zero incidents.”