eCite Digital Repository

Working conditions in the engine department - A qualitative study among engine room personnel on board Swedish merchant ships


Lundh, M and Lutzhoft, M and Rydstedt, L and Dahlman, J, Working conditions in the engine department - A qualitative study among engine room personnel on board Swedish merchant ships, Applied Ergonomics, 42, (2) pp. 384-390. ISSN 0003-6870 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2010.08.009


The specific problems associated with the work on board within the merchant fleet are well known and have over the years been a topic of discussion. The work conditions in the engine room (ER) are demanding due to, e.g. the thermal climate, noise and awkward working postures. The work in the engine control room (ECR) has over recent years undergone major changes, mainly due to the introduction of computers on board. In order to capture the impact these changes had implied, and also to investigate how the work situation has developed, a total of 20 engine officers and engine ratings were interviewed. The interviews were semi-structured and Grounded Theory was used for the data analysis. The aim of the present study was to describe how the engine crew perceive their work situation and working environment on board. Further, the aim was to identify areas for improvements which the engine crew consider especially important for a safe and effective work environment. The result of the study shows that the design of the ECR and ER is crucial for how different tasks are performed. Design which does not support operational procedures and how tasks are performed risk inducing inappropriate behaviour as the crew members' are compelled to find alternative ways to perform their tasks in order to get the job done. These types of behaviour can induce an increased risk of exposure to hazardous substances and the engine crew members becoming injured. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd and The Ergonomics Society.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Engine control room; Engine officers; Engine room; Grounded Theory; Ratings; Work place design; Engine control; Engine officers; Engine room; Grounded theory; Work place; Data reduction; Design; Human engineering; Ships; Engines; adult; body posture
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Human resources and industrial relations
Research Field:Occupational and workplace health and safety
Objective Division:Transport
Objective Group:Water transport
Objective Field:Water safety
UTAS Author:Lutzhoft, M (Professor Margareta Lutzhoft)
ID Code:95196
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:NC Ports and Shipping
Deposited On:2014-09-26
Last Modified:2014-09-26

Repository Staff Only: item control page