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The role of distrust in offshore safety performance

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2006
JournalRisk Analysis
Journal number5
Volume26
Number of pages9
Pages1151-1159
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Trust is recognized as a potentially important factor in safety within high-risk industries. However, little detailed empirical research has explored how trust operates in these contexts to influence worker safety performance. The present study addresses this by (i) identifying the target (occupational group) in which trust is most important for good safety, and (ii) establishing the “type” of trust (trust or distrust) with the greatest impact on safety performance. A questionnaire survey of 203 UK offshore gas workers' attitudes of trust and distrust toward four occupational groups (workmates, supervisors, offshore managers, and contractors) and an operating company was conducted. Logistic regression analysis identified attitudes toward offshore management as the strongest predictor of safety performance at an industry level. At an installation level, safety performance was best predicted by attitudes toward contractors and workmates. Further analysis revealed attitudes of distrust as better predictors of safety performance compared to attitudes of trust. These findings suggest that safety professionals should pay more attention to the role of distrust in safety performance. They also suggest that safety initiatives should target attitudes toward specific groups for optimal effectiveness.