Exploring Maritime Ergonomics from a Bottom Line Perspective
Journal article, 2010
The present paper reports a study composed of three research activities exploring the economics of ergonomics in a shipping context. First, a literature study aimed to review previous studies on the economics of ergonomics in general and within the maritime domain in particular; and moreover, to ascertain the key ergonomic factors addressed in contemporary maritime ergonomic research. Second, the concept of ergonomics was probed from a stakeholder perspective through nine semi-structured qualitative interviews. Third, structured interviews were held with representatives of ten Swedish shipping companies to investigate if the shipowners are aware of and calculate the economic effects of ergonomics.
The results show that several models and methods have been developed to estimate costs and benefits of ergonomics in other industries, but no studies were found from the shipping industry. Whether these methods can be readily adapted to the shipping industry has to be investigated further. While contemporary maritime ergonomic literature showed a focus on physical ergonomic and health and safety issues, the results of the stakeholder interviews indicated a focus on organizational ergonomics. The Swedish shipowners calculate the costs of sick-leave, but do not estimate the economic effects of ergonomics on a regular basis.