When it comes to any organization, apart from training, experience, safety campaigns, an important factor is also discipline.

An important question for all in this industry is ‘Do same people behave on same issue differently depending on the environment?’ To make it simple in real life ‘’A Greek behaves the same in Athens and in London?’’ Well, the truth is that they do not behave the same as environment change.

In our daily lives, we see people on a motor bike without helmets or talking on their mobile phones. It makes me wonder, is it a matter of training/ compliance/ campaign? Is it a matter of the environment we are working and living? In my view, environment plays a very important role. Just consider how many people we see daily not observing traffic rules in places where enforcement is lacking; this makes me wonder if a Swedish or a German would do the same in his own country. Certainly not. This is what compliance and discipline means.

Organizations, companies, departments, work groups, teams set their own “Environment” within which certain behaviors towards safety requirements, are implemented or not. In order to link companies with individuals, it is important to examine the following three factors which affect behavior: personal, environmental and organizational. Personal factors are a combination of both biographic and learned characteristics. Biographic characteristics could include among others: physical characteristics, age, gender, religion, experience, marital status, intelligence, intellectual and physical abilities. In general, organizations cannot seriously influence them but they ought to understand them. Learned Characteristics could include among others: personality, perceptions, attitude and values.

Organizations can seriously affect them to a good degree; they shall at least try. The environmental are external factors including: economic environment, employment level, wages rates, technology, political, legal, and socio-cultural. In this case, organizations may influence them within limits, they ought to identify them and exercise leverage, where possible. Certainly, an organization can seriously affect the organizational characteristics such as facilities, structure, design, leadership, reward, discipline.

Following the above analysis regarding the important factors that affect behavior, we conclude that we can influence our people through shaping our own organization. If we want to achieve higher safety performance, we should definitely focus on the working environment.

Every company chooses to follow its own strategy; on the one hand, there are companies considering employing as production components only thus focusing on profit; on the other hand there are companies considering ethics above profit and support people to take initiatives. Whichever strategy a company may choose, there is one common issue: people working in the company are expected to live and work in line with the organizational ethics and standards. This is important for the people to achieve encouragement, recognition and reward or else, they may be subject to coaching, training or even disciplinary consequences.

To sum up, there is a direct link between individual behavioral patterns, safety in work places and the measures needed to achieve compliance irrespective of management model. By managing and influencing learned characteristics, environmental and organizational factors, setting limits and enforcement measures, we can impact safe behavior.

Above text is an edited article of Panagiotis Nikiteas presentation during the 2016 SAFETY4SEA Conference & Awards

You may view his video presentation by clicking here

The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of  SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion  purposes only.


About Capt Panagiotis Nikiteas, HSQE Manager / DPA / CSO, Anangel Maritime Services

nikiteasCapt Panagiotis Nikiteas is maritime professional with 28 years’ experience span in various sectors of the maritime industry including management, marine, vetting, operations, crewing, safety, quality, environmental, security, health, surveying, incident investigation and training. He had been stationed and worked abroad in Manila, Dubai and Singapore and appreciated the benefits of multi-cultural working environment. He is holding Master’s Degree in Adult Education, Master’s degree in International Shipping with distinction, Post Graduate Diploma in International Shipping and Transport Management and is a graduate form Hydra Merchant Marine Academy with distinction. Panagiotis is the HSQE manager / DPA / CSO of Anangel Maritime Services Inc.