The organisational side of major accidents and safety : perspectives on transforming knowledge into practices

Abstract : In September 2006, Michel Llory, an author in the field of the organisational side of major accidents (1996, 1999) organised a two days seminar focused on the organisational dimension of safety. Following twenty years of research in the field, from the debates around the High Reliable Organisation (i.e. Roberts, 1990) and Normal Accident (i.e. Perrow, 1984), through the Normalisation of deviance (Vaughan, 1996) and some recent important investigations following major accidents (Paddington, 1999, Columbia, 2003) and other insightful contributions (Hopkins, 2000, 2005), the theme of the seminar was to question the state of the art regarding the core concepts and methodologies of the organisational side of safety, but also to address its practical impact within industry. Contributors from various French bodies where present (INERIS, National Institute for Environmental Safety; IRSN, Institute for Nuclear Safety and Radioprotection), but also researchers in the field as well as companies (Air France, EDF, CEA). Several themes from the organisational side of safety were debated such as: - The tradeoff between production versus safety, - the dark side of organisations, - the nature of the accident dynamic, - the assessment of organisation, - the organisational side of safety in the practices of the industry and development strategy. This paper provides a summary of one of the contribution proposed by the authors of this paper for the seminar. The contribution deals with the development of the organisational dimension of safety into industry practices. In order to elaborate on this topic, the paper distinguished among several concepts such as safety management systems, behaviours, human factors and organisational factors. It is stressed that these various expressions cover different understanding of sometimes similar phenomena. The meaning of these terms vary from managers, in companies to researchers in human and social sciences. An important part of this paper is dedicated to an attempt to clarify these different meanings. This is seen helpful to clarify some of the problems. Some directions are then suggested to help for the development of the organisational side of safety in practices.
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Jean-Christophe Le Coze, Nicolas Dechy. The organisational side of major accidents and safety : perspectives on transforming knowledge into practices. 12. International Symposium on Loss Prevention and Safety Promotion in the Process Industry, May 2007, Edimbourg, United Kingdom. pp.6. ⟨ineris-00976189⟩

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