Communication and its role in influencing shipboard occupational health and safety management in Chinese shipping

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Xue, Conghua
  • Subject: H1

The thesis looks at the communication between the management shore and crew on board vessels, and examines the role of such communication in influencing OHSM in two Chinese chemical shipping companies. The study was conducted in the shore offices of two companies, as well as on four of their chemical tankers. The data was mainly collected by semi-structured interviews, supplemented by field observations, informal discussions and document analyses. By examining major areas of communication closely related to OHSM, i.e., shore to ship communication for work support, shore to ship communication for management control, ship to shore communication for safety reporting, ship to shore communication for safety suggestions, the study presents the range of purposes behind communication between the two. The study shows that communication between shore management and ship’s crew is significantly influenced by divergent interests between the two. It reveals a set of socio-economic and cultural factors that underlie their communication. As a consequence, such communication has noticeable influence on crew’s shipboard working practices as well as indirect effects on crew’s health, safety and well-being. The findings of this study show that shore-ship communication is mainly in an asymmetrical form. It was generally disengaged with the concerns of OHSM. The communication contributed to an unfavourable working environment. The study suggested that communication achieved very limited outcomes for OHSM. The study concludes by calling policy makers as well as industrial practitioners to rethink the role of communication in effective OHSM and reshape maritime regulatory strategy in promoting OHSM in the global shipping industry.
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