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Sophia Bullard, Director of UK P&I Club’s Crew Health Programme chats to SAFETY4SEA about the Crew Health Programme for which the Club has been shortlisted for the ‘Initiative’ category.
SAFETY4SEA: Your organisation has been shortlisted for the 2018 SAFETY4SEA Awards in the ‘Initiative’ category alongside a number of other distinguished nominees. What is the background and the key drivers behind this nomination/shortlisting?
Sophia Bullard: The UK P&I Club is committed to safety. With a full-time, worldwide loss prevention team who provide Members with proactive and inclusive loss prevention support. The UK P&I Club has operated a Crew Health/PEME Programme for 22 years to enhance the health and, therefore, safety of crew working onboard ship. The Club was the first P&I Club to set up such a medical programme and we are flattered to note a number of other clubs have since followed this initiative in creating their own crew health programmes.
S4S: How has your initiative influenced the industry’s landscape? What are the key areas of attention?
S.B.: The well-being of crew has always been a priority for the UK P&I Club. The Crew Health Programme was introduced in 1996 to detect physical conditions or illnesses in order to reduce the number of crew being ill whilst onboard. Mental health is as important as physical health and sometimes mental health conditions can manifest in physical symptoms or illnesses. As we know from our case studies, in worst case scenarios poor mental health can even result in the death of crew members.
S4S: Do you have any new projects in the pipeline and/or plans, related with your safety performance that you would like to share with the industry?
S.B.: Alongside the awareness campaigns, which focus on the triggers and symptoms of mental health, we must also acknowledge the role the crew themselves have in keeping fit. At the UK P&I Club, we are looking to partner with key organisations and companies which offer quality options for crew self-care, whether this be education, nourishment, physical training, exercise or relaxation. We are sourcing partners in excellence which can provide ongoing solutions to maintain crew health and wellbeing not just onboard but during their time at home, ensuring a motivated crew who create a safe working environment remain in their work for the optimum time available.
S4S: If you could change one thing about the shipping industry, what would it be and why?
S.B.: Change is everywhere in the shipping industry. We are on the verge of many advancements, such as autonomous ships and multiple projects providing the opportunity for the enhancement of technology onboard. This includes technology which can be used to monitor, analyse and assess a number of technical functions and maintenance programmes. Whilst all these are projects are of utmost importance, we would actually like to go back to a time where the focus was on the human factor in shipping.
S4S: What is your key message for enhancing safety culture ashore and onboard?
S.B.: At the UK P&I Club Crew Health Programme, we believe the best investment shipowners can make for onboard safety is an investment in the education, training and support of their crew. A happy, healthy, stimulated and valued crew create a safe working environment onboard.
You can vote for UK P&I Club’s Crew Health programme on the dedicated SAFETY4SEA Awards 2018 dedicated webpage here
Voting closes on the 7th of September 2018!