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Msc operations and supply chain management : Dissertation proposal : Health and safety best practices in the maritime and industry

  1. Introduction

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is becoming more commonly understood and practised in today's businesses. Occupational Safety and Health is a comprehensive field of safety, health, and welfare that aims to create a stable, secure, and motivating work environment. According to studies, most businesses have previously neglected their employees' health and safety. Many employees suffered health problems and injuries as a result of job hazards due to a lack of suitable health and safety measures in place at their workplace to protect them (Friend and Kohn., 2018). Numerous studies show that lack of regulatory oversight and inefficient management of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the maritime industry are responsible for a major part of work-related injuries and ill health on ships (Smith et al., 2015). A company is responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining an SMS to ensure the safe operation of its ship, as well as for creating a safe working environment, protecting its workers from all identified risks, and ensuring the continuous improvement of the safety management skills of personnel working on board and on shore, according to the mandatory ISM Code. The company or shipowner must also follow the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), which include requirements for occupational health and safety protection and accident prevention, such as the formation of a safety committee on board a ship, comprised of seafarers, to hold meetings about the ship's safety (Teperi et al., 2018). As a result of community pressure, several safety legislations and standards for various industries have been enacted in various countries and areas. Various international and national safety standards give assistance to assist firms in developing their safety management systems (SMS) to meet a variety of business goals and criteria.

  1. Aim & Objectives

The research issue must be stated and clarified before a suitable research strategy can be established according to Saunders et al (2015). The aim of this research is to look into the best practices for managing occupational health and safety (OHS) in a Maritime company as well as the maritime industry in general.

  • Examine what and how the company do in terms of health and safety.\
  • Identify how well does the company comply with the principles of MLC.
  • Identify how the company stack up against the best practices of health and safety as well as the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • What needs to be done to link the company closer to the MLC.
  • How health and safety in the workplace and among the employees could be improved.
  • How global supply chain is reliant on effective maritime operations.
  • How health and safety performance could be improved
  • Provide statistics and trends that give the size of the problem and what issues are coming out of that.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of the study and areas for further research.
  • Finally provide recommendations on risk and hazard mitigation strategies..

Occupational hazards among workers within the maritime industry is also prevalent and the study will also highlight the possible occupational hazards the workforce are being exposed to such as musculoskeletal conditions, injuries, psychosocial disorders, exposure to loud noises, manual handling and working at height and so on.

  1. Problem Statement

 The shipyard is where major projects are completed. It means that the more difficult the job, the greater the risk. Maritime safety can be improved with good safety management and awareness. The number of accidents that occur may also decrease. There are numerous factors that lead to the occurrence of the accident. It is generally recognised that over 80 per cent of all marine disasters occurred due to human error, specifically related to organizational practices. Hence, OSH is concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work. Because work-related injury and illness are serious problems that place a costly burden on managers and policymakers (Matthews et al., 2016). The maritime industry is known for its high level of risk as maritime disasters are known to have disastrous effects for us and our civilization. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has taken some major players to promote OSH and overcome obstacles in the implementation of OSH in fulfilling its duty to regulate the maritime industry and improve working and living conditions for seafarers, and has also taken some major players to promote OSH and overcome obstacles in the implementation of OSH in fulfilling its duty to regulate the maritime industry and improve working and living conditions for seafarers. As a result, there is a need to assess the importance of safety and health in an organisation, which is critical in increasing productivity and providing a high-quality work environment. The central question of this study is to determine how effective OSH practises by organisations are in promoting safety policies and health awareness. The lack of reliable and comparable data on worker exposure to occupational hazards, how possible occupational health risks-safety regulations integrate everyday operation management into the complex legislative framework, and how this framework is implemented to ensure a safe and healthy working environment is a notable gap in the maritime sector (Transport & Environment, 2017). A surveillance system in the field of occupational health, according to WHO, must collect, analyse, and integrate data that allows for the monitoring of workers' health and the early detection of significant changes caused by working conditions, the environment, and pollution, as well as a work organisation (Olaniyi et al., 2018).

  1. Organizational Background

 Silverline Maritime Sdn Bhd was founded on 12 October 2005 in Port Klang, Malaysia. The company started off with 5 employees and currently have 65 employees in total. The company specializes in shipping, marketing, trading and supplying manpower to the maritime sector providing a ‘one stop service’ with a unique partnership approach.

  1. Literature Review

 The maritime industry contains high-risk operations, much attention is paid to the risk assessment process. The International Maritime Organization suggested a process consisted of five steps, which are hazards identification, risk analysis, development of control measures to reduce risks, cost–benefit analysis and conclusions and recommendation (Zhang et al., 2016). Due to the organisational international structure of the shipping sector, which includes more than 50 International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) treaties, the enforcement of the legislative framework is complex and weak (ILO). As a result, the European Framework Directive on Workplace Safety and Health (1989/391/EEC) sets the general principles for safety and health management (Moreira et al., 2017). According to Knapp and Franses (2009), there is still a lack of data on how the necessary recommendations for practise are applied. Environmental and social risks are sometimes lumped along with occupational health and safety concerns. Many studies, such as those by Antonsen (2009) and Naevestad (2017), have addressed various concerns in marine safety and security and showed the need of successful combinations of various connected aspects. Human factors, organisational factors (social organisation of the personnel on board, operating level), economic pressure, teamwork, social skills, knowledge and training, languages skills, situation awareness, decision-making, communication, automation and technological innovations, and safety culture are all factors that will help to build the framework for the identified risks.

5.1 Occupational Environment

According to Antão et al (2016), operations, facilities and different activities may create adverse effects on the environment, thus effective maritime environmental management needs to focus on the potential impact of the work environment on occupational risks. Cancer is considered to be more common among ship employees than in land-based vocations, especially lung cancer and mesothelioma, according to the BSR. Seafarers have been diagnosed with a variety of general ailments, including cardiovascular disease, work-related stress and depression, and hearing impairments. Stress, weariness, personnel level, alienation, and heavy load have also been identified as important causes of operating faults in maritime transport, according to studies (Reinhold et al., 2015).

5.2 Occupational Health

Workers who are in good health are essential for social, environmental, and economic development and long-term viability (Bernardi, 2019). The advantages of having healthy personnel and safe working environments include a greater ability to recruit qualified workers, enhanced labour productivity and motivation, improved operational performance, and lower social and economic expenses associated with occupational accidents and diseases. Green jobs, in light of these concerns, should be decent; in particular, they should provide a healthy and safe workplace for workers' health and well-being (Schröder & Prause, 2016). In other words, occupational health and safety (OSH) systems in different countries must be able to integrate different activities such as workers’ health surveillance (analysis of mortality, occupational disability, occupational accidents and diseases, absenteeism, lifestyle and unhealthy behaviour), and monitoring of working conditions (risk assessment and management) and the first step to this is the identification of the associated risks.

5.3 Communication

Pyne & Koester (2005) bring up several cases of communication failures in their report. These are listed as problems related to different cultures and languages between the crew and the pilot, the crew and the passengers on passenger vessels, and with respect to external communication and VHF communication with other vessels. They justify that it is possible to minimize the number of accidents directly related to poor communication since most of the accidents occur when the level of understanding English is poor. Other factors to be improved are procedures for communication, better selection of personnel and improved design of maritime equipment and technology, including means for communication. They also go on to say that crew communication is a major element in maritime accidents. There is a possibility of misunderstanding when crew members speak the same language.

  1. Methodology

6.1 Primary Data

In order to obtain reliable and comparable data, the survey will be designed to collect data primarily from Silverline Maritime PLC, a Malaysian based shipping and maritime manpower service provider. The study will also utilize a multi-method approach consisting of document analysis, observations, registration of safety-related documents, interactions, semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire. Given the absence of adequate statistical data on the impact of occupational hazards for shipboard personnel, it became a primary aim of this study to survey and compile data on injuries and fatalities arising from occupational hazards aboard ships. In order to obtain reliable and comparable data, the survey will be designed to collect data primarily from national government agencies or the Department of Transport. The first step will be to determine an adequate and representative sample. The structure of the national flag fleets calls for a non-random sampling approach, since by deliberately choosing the sample members according to plan, the intention is to obtain a proper cross section of the population of 65.

6.2 Secondary Data

The case study will also be carried out by conducting and reviewing secondary research using articles, websites, library materials, theories, models, techniques and other online-based data about best practices of health and safety in the maritime and shipping industry from a variety of sources and study aspects as well as past publications and articles that respond to the research question.

6.3 Data Analysis

Collected data must be critically examined to ensure the validity and reliability and hence the quality of the research design (Bell and Waters, 2018).

Reliability: Collected data is reliable if research can be replicated under the same circumstances and shows similar or the same findings. Reasons for unreliability can be errors in participant’s performance or researcher’s interpretation caused for instance through bias. In interviews, vague and imprecise wording must be avoided (Greenfield and Greener, 2016).

Validity: Appropriate methods are chosen to fulfil the requirement of producing accurate results. The data analysis methods and hence collected data should be chosen as such they can be linked to the research question (Bell and Waters, 2018).

In terms of this research project, this implicates that these two requirements need to be considered throughout collecting and analysing data from Silverline Maritime Sdn Bhd.



Antão, P., Calderón, M., Puig, M., Michail, A., Wooldridge, C. and Darbra, R.M., 2016. Identification of occupational health, safety, security (OHSS) and environmental performance indicators in port areas. Safety science85, pp.266-275.

Antonsen, S., 2009. The relationship between culture and safety on offshore supply vessels. Safety science47(8), pp.1118-1128.

Bernardi, A., 2019. The capability approach and organizational climate as tools to study occupational health and safety, Insights into Regional Development 1 (2): 155-169.

Bell, J. and Waters, S., 2018. Ebook: doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers. Mcgraw-hill education (uk).

Friend, M.A. and Kohn, J.P., 2018. Fundamentals of occupational safety and health. Rowman & Littlefield.

Greenfield, T. and Greener, S. eds., 2016. Research methods for postgraduates. John Wiley & Sons.

Knapp, S. and Franses, P.H., 2009. Does ratification matter and do major conventions improve safety and decrease pollution in shipping?. Marine policy33(5), pp.826-846.

Moreira, S., Vasconcelos, L. and Santos, C.S., 2017. Sustainability of green jobs in Portugal: a methodological approach using occupational health indicators. journal of Occupational Health, pp.17-0045.

Naevestad, T.O., 2017. Safety culture, working conditions and personal injuries in Norwegian maritime transport. Marine Policy84, pp.251-262.

Olaniyi, E., Prause, G. and Boyesen, J., 2017, January. The impact of SECA regulations on clean shipping in the BSR: First empiric results from EnviSuM project. In Trends and Challenges in Maritime Energy Management. 2017 International Conference on Maritime Energy Management, Malmo, Sweden (pp. 24-25).

Pun, K., Yam, R. and Lewis, W., 2003. Safety management system registration in the shipping industry. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 20(6), pp.704-721.

Pyne, R. and Koester, T., 2005. Methods and means for analysis of crew communication in the maritime domain. Archives of Transport17(3-4), pp.193-208.

Reinhold, K., Järvis, M. and Tint, P., 2015. Practical tool and procedure for workplace risk assessment: Evidence from SMEs in Estonia. Safety science71, pp.282-291.

Schröder, M. and Prause, G., 2015. Risk management for green transport corridors. Journal of Security and Sustainability Issues5(2), pp.229-239.

Saunders, B., Kitzinger, J. and Kitzinger, C., 2015. Anonymising interview data: Challenges and compromise in practice. Qualitative Research15(5), pp.616-632.

Teperi, A., Lappalainen, J., Puro, V. and Perttula, P., 2018. Assessing artefacts of maritime safety culture—current state and prerequisites for improvement. WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, 18(1), pp.79-102.

Zhang, J., Teixeira, Â.P., Guedes Soares, C., Yan, X. and Liu, K., 2016. Maritime transportation risk assessment of Tianjin Port with Bayesian belief networks. Risk analysis36(6), pp.1171-1187.

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