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Not drowning, waving! Safety management and occupational culture in an Australian commercial fishing port


Brooks, BP, Not drowning, waving! Safety management and occupational culture in an Australian commercial fishing port, Safety Science, 43, (10) pp. 795-814. ISSN 0925-7535 (2005) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2005.02.007


An ethnographic study of safety management was conducted in a commercial lobster fishing industry, in a small fishing town in Southern Australia. The objectives were to test the utility of the ethnographic method for exploring the nature of the relationship between occupational culture, workplace social organization, and safety management. Available accident data suggests this particular fishery may not have the same high incidence of occupational trauma normally attributed to commercial fishing. Changes in licensing laws and improved management of fish stocks have significantly reduced risk exposure. Participants in this study had a good understanding of their physical workplace risks, but accepted some of these with too few defences. Wear rates of personal flotation devices (PFDs) were below 1% for the study period. The paper suggests that participants do not have a strong learning culture, and links this to occupation-wide cultural assumptions, other external issues and safety management issues. Assessment of the social and cultural context of safety management can offer policy makers a 'road-map' to guide their interventions. The utility of ethnographic methods for this type of analysis is significant, and will be enhanced by improving the transparency of the research method.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Applied and developmental psychology
Research Field:Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Aquaculture rock lobster
UTAS Author:Brooks, BP (Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks)
ID Code:63549
Year Published:2005
Web of Science® Times Cited:29
Deposited By:NC Ports and Shipping
Deposited On:2010-05-11
Last Modified:2010-06-18

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