Occupational safety and health for service crew on passenger ships

Sometimes tough but still rewarding. This is how the work situation could be summarized for the crew working in service professions on passenger ships. Many work steps involve a high physical and mental workload with little opportunity to influence their own working conditions. But even though the service crew is overrepresented in the long sick leave statistics, it is a motivated working group with high job satisfaction.
In this research project we studied seafarers’ experiences of their work and their work environment, job satisfaction, motivation, and fatigue. In collaboration with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency’s Maritime Office, we also had the opportunity to analyse reported long sick leave.

The results show that seafarers working on passenger ships report the highest experience of exhaustion. Further, the service crew on passenger ships are clearly overrepresented when it comes to long sick leave of 60 days and longer. They also report the most negative experience of work situation, friendship and leadership compared to other departments. Despite this, they are a generally motivated occupational group with high job satisfaction.

The project also identified important health factors in the work environment that can counteract the experience of fatigue. For instance, adequate staffing, time to rest, managers who tackle problems, and good relations with other departments on board are some examples. These health factors also strengthen the motivation to work at sea. Increased participation in work environment work and the fact that staff can influence the design of work and work environments can reduce the negative effects and strengthen the health-promoting effects. The social work environment is an important part of work at sea and includes the free time spent on board. Hence, the occupational safety and health management should include measures that break down boundaries between departments and create cohesion and a common identity for the crew.

intendenturens arbetsmiljö

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