Project: Hazardous Working Environments. An Investigation into the Supervisor - Worker Relationship

Completed but not published

This project was submitted on 30/01/2014

The research investigated the relationship between workers and supervisors in the offshore oil and gas industry. The objectives were to assess worker-supervisor interaction and explore how personal and organisational factors affect relationships.

The growing consensus in the industry is for a more collaborative approach to supervision and engaging workers on issues such as: behaviours; and hazard perception. The theoretical framework included: workforce perception regarding the level of organisational support received is an important element in safety; agreement on zero tolerance attitude towards rule breaking. The following research questions were raised:

1) What is the motivation for ignoring and/or violating work procedures?
2) Who is involved in work planning?
3) How do workers perceive the level of support from supervisors/management?

A qualitative methodology was chosen, using in-depth semi structured interviews with a purposively selected sample from the offshore sector. The findings which emerged showed a good understanding by supervisors and workers of the need for barriers and controls. Coordination of activities, although well defined, are not always carried out to plan. Evidence from the primary research indicates poor working practices are still being observed regularly. Research suggests safety culture maturity differs in organisations, where two organisations are collaborating this may cause problems that will manifest themselves at supervisor-workforce level. Conclusions can be drawn from the research that: there are opportunities for improvements in how supervisors and workers interact; there is a shift in culture, with new entrant workers demonstrating a higher degree of awareness towards safety than those entering 15-20 years ago. A limitation of the study related to the sample size, which could be considered small. With employers focusing more on behavioural safety, workers and supervisors are increasingly being held accountable for their actions; therefore, understanding the relationship between these two parties has never been more important.

Masters
Human factors & behavioural safety, Leadership, Occupational health & wellbeing, Risk management
Offshore

Organisation: The Robert Gordon University

University
Garthdee House,
Garthdee Rd,
Aberdeen,
AB10 7QB,
UK
www.rgu.ac.uk
01224 262000

Principal Investigator: Stuart McIlroy

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