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Learning from the Positive – Suggestions for Potential Improvements to Maritime Safety Management Approaches

EasyChair Preprint no. 5899

8 pagesDate: June 23, 2021


The study presented in this article aimed to investigate how regulatory demands have shape safety management and safety management systems (SMS) in shipping companies. A case study focused on five companies operating in the Swedish maritime industry was carried out. Ten semi-structured interviews with respondents in management positions on shore and onboard were carried out during spring 2020. Originally the case study was supposed to include observations as well, but these were suspended due to COVID-19. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed with the help of the four resilience cornerstones; respond, anticipate, monitor, and learn. The results show that the companies, as well as the industry itself should be considered as complex systems, in which an additional layer of complexity is added by international and national rules and regulations. The work put into managing safety has become of such complex nature that for the most part, safety work is put into administrative tasks to ensure compliance with regulations. The results also highlight concerns among the management onboard that more time is dedicated to formulate routines and procedures than to actually making the work safer for those performing it. To compensate for the experienced gaps between work-as-imagined, or prescribed, and work-as-done questions based on the Resilience Assessment Grid (RAG) are presented. These can serve as a complement to the current safety management strategies, and may also give raise to a deeper cooperation between shore-based and ship-based personnel in shipping companies. This may enable a participatory approach in which safety management can be shaped bottom-up with as onboard personnel contributing essential knowledge on needs and preconditions to ensure safe operations while also taking the complexity of the system into account.

Keyphrases: maritime safety, RAG, Resilience Assessment Grid, safety management

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Johannah Olsson and Gesa Praetorius},
  title = {Learning from the Positive – Suggestions for Potential Improvements to Maritime Safety Management Approaches},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 5899},

  year = {EasyChair, 2021}}
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