The impact of safety culture on safety performance: a study of the high speed passenger craft industry in Hong Kong

Chan, Chi Keung Ricky (2022) The impact of safety culture on safety performance: a study of the high speed passenger craft industry in Hong Kong. Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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The premium speed and comfort of fast ferries make them attractive to the operating organizations and passengers, which accounts for the increase in the number of fast ferries in Hong Kong. Although the accident rates are reportedly low, safety has been a concern because of their high-speed in the crowded waters of Hong Kong, particularly at times of darkness or poor visibility in certain high traffic density areas, such as Hong Kong Harbour. The regulatory controls over the safety of fast ferries were exposed to critical questions as a result of some serious marine accidents in clear weather and traffic, especially the tragic sinking of the Lamma fast ferry in October 2012 with the highest maritime death toll of 39 lives lost in Hong Kong waters. An analysis of past serious marine accidents revealed that the seafarers involved were qualified and experienced, but failed to observe the written procedures of the company’s safety management system (SMS). The success of the SMS is dependent on the effectiveness of the organization’s safety culture. More importantly, safety culture can be analysed through investigating the beliefs of employees in the workplace environment, which in turn has cascade effects on the organization’s safety performance. The SMS requires operating organizations to deliver safe operating practice ashore and afloat. There could be conflicts between the management’s and seafarers’ and management’s perceptions of safety in the ways of what and how the seafarers should be supported. The gaps in the safety perceptions between management and seafarers raise the concern of safety culture. This study explains the effects of ten specific factors of safety culture upon the perceived safety performance of the operating organizations from the employee’s perspective, with the aim of developing practical strategies to improve the safety performance of the operating organizations in the safe operation and management of the fast ferry fleet. The methodology required a self-administrated questionnaire for the survey research, and also proposed and tested a model of the relationship between safety culture and the perceived safety performance of the operating organizations. Both descriptive statistics and inferential statistics provided analyses of the 214 responses, and predictions about the target population of some 450 fast ferry officers. Through applying analytical methodologies, five significant factors underlying the safety culture were identified and sorted in the order of significance as communication, management commitment, employee empowerment, fairness, and learning. The study has yielded valuable research results that may support other researchers to engage in a more complex research in future, with the intent of gaining deeper insights of different safety perspectives. More specifically, this study has provided recommendations for the stakeholders concerned (including operating organizations, fast ferry officers, governments, seafarers’ unions, and training institutions), and managerial implications of using safety culture for sustaining the continuous improvement of organizations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Safety culture, Safety climate, Safety perception, Safety performance, High speed craft
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
T Technology > TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Lesley Cresswell
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2022 08:58
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2023 13:45

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