Rock the boat

In this project we studied what can be done, and by whom, in contribution to a good organizational and social work environment without workplace bullying and harassment. The examples are derived from a systematic review of research, as well as through dialogue with a large number of people with diverse background and experience.

The existence of workplace bullying and harassment is unfortunately nothing new, and this applies to work at sea as well. The person being exposed often experiences physically and mentally illness and can develop long-term health problems. Further, the social onboard isolation can make it difficult for the victim to get support from family and friends. As many as 25 percent of all seafarers and more than 50 percent of women seafarers report being the target of workplace bullying or harassment, and the perpetrator is usually the victim’s manager.

In our final project report, you can read what various actors can do to create a sound onboard work environment, both in the short and long term. Here are some tips on what you can do as co-worker or manager.

Co-workers: Do a buddy check! Be aware of behavioral changes in your co-workers and if anyone is excluded from the work group. Dare to ask how that person is and show that you care. Improve your crew courage by taking a stand if a colleague gets mistreated. That does not necessarily require a direct confrontation. You could disrupt the situation in other ways, by for example steering the conversation in another direction, spilling a cup of coffee, or doing something else to shift focus from the victim. You can also show your support by refraining from laughing at inappropriate jokes, or gossiping.

Managers: Through your leadership, as a manager you are an important role model and bearer of norms o board. Make time to be an attendant leader, and make a stand when you observe unsuitable behavior. Workplace bullying and harassment must of course be dealt with correctly, but it is also important to work preventively and systematically with work environment and safety issues. Be vigilant for incidents. You must act if you observe, for example, that co-workers not have time for regular breaks, heightened irritation or carelessness within the work group, unwelcome sexual attention, sexual groping, or other derogatory behavior. Get help from your safety representative, the work environment needs collaboration!

The project was funded by Afa Insurance.

Reports in pdf

  • Praktiskt arbetsmiljöarbete för en jämställd sjöfart (coming soon)
  • Ogilla läget (2021)

Links to scientific publications:

  • None yet

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