Work-Related Accident Prevention in Norwegian Road and Maritime Transport: Examining the Influence of Different Sector Rules
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInfrastructures. 2021, 6 (76), 1-18. 10.3390/infrastructures6050072
About 36% of fatal road accidents in Norway involve at least one driver who is “at work”. It has been argued that the implementation of rules clearly defining the responsibility of road transport companies to prevent work related accidents, by implementing safety management systems (SMS), could lead to increased safety. In the present study we tested the validity of this suggestion, by examining the influence of different sector rules on work-related accident prevention in Norwegian road and maritime transport. In contrast to the road sector, the maritime sector has had rules requiring SMS for over 20 years, clearly defining the shipping companies responsibility for prevention of work-related accidents. The aims of the study were to: (1) examine how the different sector rules influence perceptions of whether the responsibility to prevent work-related accidents is clearly defined in each sector; and (2) compare respondents’ perceptions of the quality of their sectors’ efforts to prevent work-related accidents, and factors influencing this. The study was based on a small-scale survey (N = 112) and qualitative interviews with sector experts (N = 17) from companies, authorities, and NGOs in the road and the maritime sectors. Results indicate that respondents in the maritime sector perceive the responsibility to prevent work-related accidents as far more clearly defined, and they rate their sector’s efforts to prevent accidents as higher than respondents in road. Multivariate analyses indicate that this is related to the scope of safety regulations in the sectors studied, controlled for several important framework conditions. Based on the results, we conclude that the implementation of SMS rules focused on transport companies’ responsibility to prevent work-related accidents could improve safety in the road sector. However, due to barriers to SMS implementation in the road sector, we suggest starting with a simplified version of SMS.