The Subject, not just an object: Safety construction in the Vessel Traffic Service Domain
Poster (konferens), 2009

Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) is a shore-based system for monitoring and assisting maritime traffic within a certain framework of international and governmental guidelines. The service is provided by operators ashore, which use complex systems for traffic monitoring and decision making. In the VTS-domain, safety is often associated with risk management supported by complex technological systems, with little concern for how operators actually perform their day-to-day work. Much safety management research indicates that safety cannot be achieved by defining risk and safety as something separate from the actual work of the operators. It thus seems necessary to get an understanding of how operators construct safety as part of their work. This study presents observations conducted at 4 different VTS centers, along with interviews with 15 VTS-operators. The results indicate that VTS operators consider risk and safety as being highly context-dependent and not connected to what is defined by international and governmental organizations. Instead, the operator is forced to identify his own goals and concerns. Consequently, safety in this domain is constructed on the lowest level of the organization, by the operator as a routine part of work. Any technological implementation that fails to consider this will not promote safety

Maritime safety

Vessel traffic service (VTS)

Safety construction


Gesa Praetorius

Chalmers, Sjöfart och marin teknik, Maritime Operations

Margareta Lützhöft

Chalmers, Sjöfart och marin teknik, Maritime Operations

HFES European Chapter Annual Meeting 2009




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