PSS & University of Bath Undertake Joint PhD Level Study

Published: Friday, August 24, 2018 - 10:57

PSS along with Port Industry Chief Executive has identified six key priorities for the sector, two of which are " PSS as thought Leader and H&S Culture (Human Factor).



Over recent months an innovative new research project has been taking shape. Port Skills and Safety in collaboration with the University of Bath have joined forces to support the objective of continuous improvement in safety standards within the sector. The research is focused on enhancing organisational learning to deliver on-going safety culture improvement in UK ports. The study will investigate the individual, situational and contextual influences on employee behaviour from which a sector-specific safety climate assessment tool will be developed. The tool will allow port managers to benchmark current performance of their organization and highlight vulnerabilities that would benefit from intervention to achieve improvement.

The research will be undertaken by David Walter, a PhD. student based at the University of Bath, and supervised by Dr. Andrew Weyman. David has commercial and managerial experience in large and medium-sized organisations and in recent years has pursued a personal ambition to retrain as an organisational researcher. The first step was a Masters in Business Psychology (University of Westminster), focusing on how organisations engage older workers, followed by an 'apprenticeship' (MRes - Masters in Research) in qualitative and quantitative social science research methods, at University of Bath. Dr. Kate Blackford, Head of Behavioural Safety at ABP and a member of the PSS management committee, will also oversee this project. Dr. Blackford brings her vast national and international expertise along with an in-depth understanding of UK ports to help guide the research and development of this first ever Port industry specific tool.

In recent months David has made a number of ‘familiarisation’ visits to a range of ports, including Bristol, Southampton, Cardiff, Newport, Ipswich and King’s Lynn. Visits have focused on work operations, safety management, safety training initiatives and meeting personnel involved in a wide range of activities. Field research is planned to commence in the Autumn of 2018 and will involve interviews with individuals and groups including both employed and sub-contracted port operatives, managers, and supervisors.

Participation in this research will be voluntary and all data gathered from individuals and organisations will be anonymised. Please look out for further communication and information in the coming months.



In the meantime, if you have any questions or are interested in having your organisation participate or in contributing individually, you can contact PSS or David on the email below. or