AS-302 Safety Management in the Arctic (10 ECTS)

AS-301 on Nordenskiöldbreen June 2018. Photo: Thorben Dunse/UNIS

August 9, 2021
September 10, 2021
Autumn semester, (August–September), annually
Letter grade (A through F)
• Kjellén and Albrechtsen (2017) “Prevention of Accidents and Unwanted Occurences. Theory, Methods and Tools in Safety Management” (387 pages) • Relevant papers and reports about arctic safety (200 pages) • Accident reports, incident database
10/20 students
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue
April 15, 2022


Eirik Albrechtsen
Eirik Albrechtsen
Adjunct Associate Professor, Arctic Safety Centre

UNIS contact person: Arne Aalberg

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a relevant master programme in social-, technological- or natural sciences.

Academic content:

The main focus of the course is prevention of accidents and unwanted occurrences that may lead to loss of life in the Arctic. The course demonstrates how systematic work with loss prevention should be performed in organizations operating in the Arctic, i.e. by generating knowledge to support decisions about mitigating measures. In addition the course provides knowledge about the theoretical foundations for systematic safety management in the Arctic.

The course content can be categorized into four modules:

1) Safety management in the Arctic: theories, models and framework conditions:

  • principles for experience feedback and learning from unwanted occurrences
  • accident models and accident analysis framework
  • decision-making processes and constrains
  • risk influencing factors and internal and external framework conditions for safety management in the Arctic.

2) Methods and tools for control of hazards in the Arctic: application, principles, limits and merits:

  • hazard identification
  • risk assessments: strategic and operative
  • incident investigation
  • reporting of unwanted occurrences
  • incident database
  • safety performance indicators.

3) Mitigating occupational accident risk in the Arctic:

  • choose and assess efficient preventive measures and argue for the choice of these
  • barriers against loss
  • deviation handling
  • influencing the human factor.

4) Practical management of Arctic safety:

  • planning and execution of field trip safety
  • practical handling of Arctic safety.


Learning outcomes:

The course will provide students with knowledge, skills and competence in designing and running safety management systems in an Arctic context. The students will gain knowledge about theoretical principles and models that is the foundation for safety management in organizations. After the course, students will be able to apply different methods and tools for generation of knowledge about past, current and future safety performance for activities and systems in the Arctic. Based on the theoretical foundations and the methods and tools, the students shall be able to suggest adequate safety measures to control Arctic hazards. The combination of practical knowledge about Arctic operations and Arctic hazards and theoretical understanding of safety management is emphasized in the course.

Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • explain the theoretical foundation for different methods and tools used to identify, analyze and evaluate accident risks and remedial actions
  • explain the principles for experience feedback and learning from unwanted occurrences
  • explain how different knowledge sources are systematically combined into decision-making support
  • identify hazards in Arctic environments
  • explain risk influencing factors and framework conditions for management of safety in an Arctic context
  • choose and assess appropriate methods and tools for a systematic and efficient accident prevention work in an Arctic context
  • categorize different perspectives on safety theories on organizational accidents
  • recognize factors influencing human performance in the Arctic.

Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • assess risk for different tasks and systems in the Arctic
  • apply methods for accident investigation at different levels
  • analyze and develop accident databases
  • apply methods for reporting of unwanted occurrences
  • apply methods for measurement of safety performance.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • solve practical tasks in operational safety management in the Arctic.

Learning activities

The course extends over 5 weeks including compulsory safety training.

  • Lectures with examples from the Arctic to support both theories and models as well as application of methods and tools
  • exercises containing application of methods and tools on Arctic cases
  • guest lectures by representatives from companies operating in Longyearbyen
  • plan safety for a field trip for UNIS students.


Total lecture hours: 72 hours
Total seminar hours: 23 hours
Total exercise hours: 20 hours
Fieldwork: 2 days
Excursions: 3 days

Compulsory learning activities:

A number of exercises (application of methods and tools)

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to be registered for the exam.



Method Duration  
Percentage of final grade
Written report


Written exam

4 hours


All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.

Each assessment is graded, and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available. 

Application deadline: 15 April 2022

AS-301 on Nordenskioldbreen June 2018. Photo: Thorben Dunse/UNIS

Arctic safety students on field excursion to Nordenskiöldbreen, June 2018. Photo: Thorben Dunse/UNIS


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The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Student inquiries:
E-mail: /
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454


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