Framework conditions of occupational safety: Comparing Norwegian maritime cargo and passenger transport

Studio Apertura

​Seafaring is among the most hazardous occupations, and more knowledge is needed to inform preventive measures. One way of developing such knowledge is to compare different sub-sectors, to shed light onfactors influencingoccupational safety. Previous research has indicated a higher risk of serious occupational injuries in coastal cargo transport compared to passenger transport, hypothesizing that this could be due to thesafety culture in coastal cargo transport.

The aims of the present paper are to: (1) Compare organizational safety culture andworking conditions in Norwegian cargo and passenger transport at sea, (2) Examine safety outcomes (safety behaviours andcrewmember accidents) of safety culture and working conditions in the passenger and the cargo sector, and (3) discuss how safety culture and working conditions are influenced by the framework conditions of the the passenger and the cargo sector. The study is based on asmall-scale survey tocrewmembers on vessels registered in the Norwegian Ship Register (NOR), both at passenger vessels (N = 84) and coastal cargo vessels (N = 73). Results indicate thatcrew members in the coastal cargo sector experience more work pressure, and that they rate their organizational safety culture as lower than respondents in the passenger transport sector.

Moreover, results indicate that work pressure and poor organizational safety culture are closely related to unsafe working behaviours, which in turn is associated with personal injuries on board. However, as a positive organizational safety culture is related to safer working behaviours, future research should examine how organizational safety culture can be employed to reduce the impact of negative framework conditions inmaritime transport on occupational safety.