Dynamics of safety performance and culture: A group model building approach
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The management of occupational health and safety (OHS) including safety culture interventions is comprised of complex problems that are often hard to scope and define. Due to the dynamic nature and complexity of OHS management, the concept of system dynamics (SD) is used to analyze accident prevention. In this paper, a system dynamics group model building (GMB) approach is used to create a causal loop diagram of the underlying factors influencing the OHS performance of a major drilling and mining contractor in Australia. While the organization has invested considerable resources into OHS their disabling injury frequency rate (DIFR) has not been decreasing. With this in mind, rich individualistic knowledge about the dynamics influencing the DIFR was acquired from experienced employees with operations, health and safety and training background using a GMB workshop. Findings derived from the workshop were used to develop a series of causal loop diagrams that includes a wide range of dynamics that can assist in better understanding the causal influences OHS performance. The causal loop diagram provides a tool for organizations to hypothesize the dynamics influencing effectiveness of OHS management, particularly the impact on DIFR. In addition the paper demonstrates that the SD GMB approach has significant potential in understanding and improving OHS management.
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