This report analyzed the impact of various organizations and stakeholders in the marine industry on the safety of shipping. Different research methods, including literature studies, data analysis, and interviews with ship management companies, were used to study the organizational impact on the human factor in shipping. The results of the study showed a strong correlation between various organizational influences and the chance of having or not having incidents with a vessel. The study found that ship owners, ship managers, ship operators, insurance companies, ship yards, classification societies, flag states, and vetting inspections and port state control all had a statistically significant impact on safety. The study also found that various organizations had an impact on the ship's safety during the design phase, and that ships between a certain age range were more likely to be involved in accidents. The report concludes that different quantitative and qualitative methods can be used to study the safety culture and organizational impact on safety, and that management participation and involvement in work and safety activities, as well as frequent, informal communications between workers and management, are critical behaviors. The report suggests improvements based on sharing of knowledge across the industries, management commitment and style, the implementation of safety systems, communication issues, the supportive environment and employee involvement.
This report aims to analyse the impact of the various organisations and stakeholders in the marine industry on the safety of shipping. The research problem addressed is the organisational impact on the human factor in shipping.
Different research methods have been used. The study compromises a literature study on what has been done in this regards in other industries, a data analysis coupling different databases in a unique way together to derive the impact of the different stakeholders on accident frequencies and finally an interview/ data collection part from ship management companies.
The results of the study can be summarised as that there is a strong impact of various
Organisational influences on safety can be shown via this analysis are ship owners, ship managers, ship operators (including their office location), insurance companies, ship yards, classification societies, flag states, and even vetting inspections and port state control. All of these show a statistical significant correlation to the chance of having or not having incidents with a certain vessel.
Speaking in terms of latent factors it becomes obvious that various organisations have an impact on the ship’s safety, whose decision, for instance in the design phase of the vessel have an impact on safety.
Some results might be obvious intuitively like that ships between a certain age range are more likely to be involved in accidents (10-15 years of age). Others are less obvious such as that ship owners or ship managers in many western countries are more likely running ships involved in accidents. All of the results presented here are statistically significant, but the causal influence or direction cannot be scientifically proofed.
Conclusions based on this study can be summarized as:
Different quantitative and qualitative methods have been suggested based on the literature study and used in order to study the safety culture and organizational impact on safety. Specifically, management participation and involvement in work and safety activities, as well as frequent, informal communications between workers and management, are recognized as critical behaviours.
The category “human factor accidents” is the predominant category when it comes to “causes” in the databases used. Looking into details of causes in the database, quite a share of the incidents can be directly connected to latent or organisational deficiencies such as heavy workload, inadequate training, improper ergonomics, the use of violence, assault, etc. and inadequate staffing. Even in other categories the latent factors are underlying and could be identified as contributing factors as well as those connected to the management onboard. There are uncertainties connected with the use of such databases for identifying latent errors, but the analysis intended only to give a first indication. So it is rather a question on where the human factor has its most significant influence on the ship, on the bridge or onshore?
Studying the Port State Controls some general conclusions can be drawn. The PSC have a positive effect on detecting sub-standard vessels and detain or ban them. The detention rates are decreasing in the latest years giving hope to believe that the standards worldwide improve. There is a huge difference of outcome based on e.g. the flag state, ship type, classification society, a fact that seems to be accepted within the industry, but does not directly follow a law of nature.
Additionally it can be concluded that some vessel types are more likely to be involved in accidents, indicating that there is a difference on how shipping companies handle vessels and that there is a close link to the handling and general acceptance of different ship standards, crew standards, safety management, equipment and standards, and maintenance levels of ships.
Improvements are often suggested based on sharing of knowledge across the industries, Management Commitment and Style, the implementation of Safety Systems, Communication issues, the Supportive Environment and Employee Involvement. Leading objective indicators of safety could not be identified across organisations in the shipping industry. The indicators that were found cannot be said to be valid since they are largely based on data of poor comparability and far from objective.
Most of the problems that the authors encountered can be traced to the aim to find common indicators by involving several different sectors of shipping companies, as the definitions of concepts used in their safety work vary considerably. Hence the authors draw the conclusion that in order to enable safety research, collaboration and comparison between different shipping companies in the future there is a need to reduce the diversity of definitions that are used within the shipping industry. Even though the method used in this part of the project proved to have a lot of weaknesses, the author’s opinion is that there is a need for a future development towards a more proactive way to manage safety in shipping. As opposed to how safety is measured today, with lagging key performance indicators, the authors believe that there needs to be a development towards a measurement of safety as the presence of something positive. The author’s opinion is that the research community should continue to develop the usefulness of leading objective indicators and that organisations can contribute to this development by implementing them as a complementary tool in their safety management systems.