Wanted! Possible links between religious coping and safety

Fabienne Knudsen, Sisse Grøn

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPosterForskning



Wanted! Possible links between religious coping and safety


This is really more an inquiry than a normally structured abstract. We are two researchers in maritime health and safety that never previously have paid attention to religious coping. However, the issues raised by our project require an unprejudiced consideration of all kinds of explanations, including religious ones. 


The project

In the past years, safety has been in focus in seafaring, and there has been a reduction in the number of reported work injuries in ships registered in the Danish International Ship Register (DIS) since 1998. The injuries, though, are not evenly distributed and seem to depend on a range of factors, of which the type of ship and the nationality of the seafarer are critical. Statistics show that Filipino seafarers working on Danish ships have less than 50% reported accidents compared to Danes - the Danes having the highest rate of reported accidents and the Filipinos the lowest one - other nationalities being intermediate. Some of the differences may be due to a difference in the rate of accident reporting. However, several studies indicate that seafarers from South East Asia, mainly the Philippines, have a genuine lower risk of occupational accidents than seafarers from Western Europe.

Therefore, the project will seek to identify relevant aspects of both reporting practice and safety culture in Danish seafaring.


The objective of the project is to identify causes behind the registered difference in numbers of injuries among Danish seafarers and their foreign colleagues, in order to direct future safety initiative towards the relevant factors.

The research questions are as follows:

How is safety learnt, conceived of, communicated and practiced, within the national groupings, and between the national groupings?

Which factors function as incentives or disincentives to a suitable reporting practice?

Are there special conditions concerning reporting in the case of non Danish seafarers?


Points of relevance to research in faith and health

If the study confirms that the Filipino's lower rate of injuries is, at least partly, due to a better safety attitude or a more adequate safety culture, what can be the reasons for it? So far, we have only found few tracks with some explanatory force. One is given by Gunnar Lamvik who, in his book "The Filipino Seafarer - A Life between Sacrifice and shopping" suggests that Filipino seafarers pay particular attention to safety because of their role as breadwinner (in the limited welfare system of the Philippines). While working aboard, they are ‘on mission for the family'. Indeed, we have both done fieldwork on board with Filipinos and noticed that they widely consider their sailing time as a ‘sacrifice' for their family. Another explanation is provided by Greg Bankoff who points to the fact that no country has been subjected to as many catastrophes as the Philippines. This has compelled the Filipinos to develop a range of coping strategies towards hazards. However, it is not obvious that these can be transferred to a safer personal attitude at work.


Although it is clear from our fieldwork that faith plays a huge role in the life of the Filipino seafarers, we have not considered the possible influence played by religion in safety attitude or risk perception so far. Attending this conference, calling on your attention with our poster, we hope to get new insight in the issue raised above.





Fabienne Knudsen & Sisse Grøn, Centre of Maritime Health and Safety, University of Southern Denmark, Niels Bohrs Vej 9, 6700 Esbjerg.

fak@cmss.sdu.dk - smfg@cmss.sdu.dk


StatusUdgivet - 2010
BegivenhedConference on research in faith and health in secular society - Odense, Danmark
Varighed: 17. maj 201019. maj 2010
Konferencens nummer: 1


KonferenceConference on research in faith and health in secular society

Bibliografisk note

Værtspublikationsredaktører: Niels Christian Hvidt
Værtspublikationsredaktører: Peter La Cour
Titel på proceedings: Faith and Health
Undertitel på proceedings:  in secular society