Safety culture assessment and implementation framework to enhance maritime safety

Volkan Arslan, Rafet Emek Kurt, Osman Turan, Louis De Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Contributionpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
165 Downloads (Pure)


Accident investigation reports attribute the majority of marine accidents to human and organizational factors. Significant efforts are made to eliminate these errors in the maritime industry, but after each catastrophic accident, the maritime industry adopts a reactive approach which results in new regulations and an excessive amount of paperwork. None of these efforts provide the desired safety level for the maritime industry. Currently, the maritime industry is starting to implement proactive approaches and has tried to avoid re-occurrences by implementing an appropriate safety culture. Safety culture is defined as “how an organization behaves when no one is watching”. The safety culture approach describes humans as a means for improving safety rather than someone to blame for failure. A positive safety culture with commitment from all levels in the company can achieve the envisaged and required safety levels in the maritime industry.

This paper presents a novel safety culture assessment and improvement framework to enhance the maritime safety and introduces preliminary results of the safety climate assessment within a company. The proposed framework will collect seafarer's attitudes, leading/lagging indicators and key performance indicators to analyze a company's current safety culture level and address the weakest areas to enhance the level of safety accordingly. New strategies and action plans will be proposed to improve these vulnerable areas. The selection of safety indicators will be adjustable according to a company's specific needs and the available data types. Safety indicators have a crucial importance in gaining an insight into a company's safety performance. The safety culture improvement framework will provide a guided way for companies to perform gap identification on their safety level. A management tool will also be developed for shipping companies to analyze and observe their current safety culture level continuously. Implementation of the safety culture assessment framework is a long term process and it requires up to five years of continual effort to get the final results. The results section doesn’t go beyond the assessment of safety climate and identification of the main differences between shore staff and crew members. In the next stages of the study, interviews and observations will be performed to validate the results of the questionnaire. More structured means of statistical analysis will be conducted to identify correlations between safety performance data and safety metrics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3895-3904
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Procedia
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2016
Event6th Transport Research Arena Conference - PGE Narodowy, Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 18 Apr 201621 Apr 2016


  • maritime safety culture
  • safety
  • human factors
  • safety culture
  • safety indicators
  • marine accidents
  • ship safety

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