Perspectives on safety: The impact of group membership, work factors and trust on safety performance in UK and Norwegian drilling company

Jorunn-Elise Tharaldsen, Kathryn J Mearns, Knut Knudsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This study is anchored in a contractor company providing well services for platform drilling on the Norwegian (NCS) and the UK Continental Shelves (UKCS). The research project has as its point of departure the potential influences of group level characteristics, structural work factors, trust, and safety behaviour on safety performance. Do perceptions and performance differ across Shelves? Are “nomadic” groups or employees that have more unpredictable shift rotations more exposed to accidents than others? Is high trust and sound safety behaviour enhancing good safety performance? The results are based on questionnaire data from two samples of personnel distributed across three installations on the UKCS and nine on the NCS with a response rate of 67%: N = 170 (UKCS) and N = 621 (NCS). In addition, two focus group interviews were held in each country, with 15 participants in each. The results show that our model makes sense. Shelf shows a significant influence on safety performance in all but the final stage in our five-step logistic regression model, indicating that the effect may be mediated by safety compliance and safety participation. Installations and different work teams have different exposure and structural work factors matter significantly. Somewhat counter-intuitively, employees who have a “nomadic” status and who hold the least regular shift rotations appear to have a lower risk of being involved in incidents. High trust in workmates buffers against incident involvement and the same applies for high safety compliance. The results, challenges and implications for research and safety practitioners are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1062-1072
Number of pages11
JournalSafety Science
Issue number8
Early online date8 Aug 2009
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • relations between group membership
  • work factors and trust on safety performance
  • oil and gas industry offshore
  • compartaive analysis
  • self reported safety performance
  • fuctional aspects of trust and distrust with regards to safety


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