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Collective Mindfulness as a Preventive Strategy Against Workplace Incidents: A Comparative Study of Australia and the United States

  • Andrew EnyaEmail author
  • Manikam Pillay
  • Shane Dempsey
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 969)

Abstract

The workplace has become a second home to many workers as they spend most of the day working in their various work environment while performing their job roles. It is therefore imperative as a duty of care for employers to ensure they provide a safe workplace for both employees and visitors. In the quest to provide safer working conditions, organizations have continually sort for strategies and successful models from other industries which they can emulate. This has led many organizations to study High Reliability Organizations as an incident prevention strategy. High reliability organizations (HROs) which include air traffic control, nuclear power generation stations and US Navy air carriers, are known to perform their operations in an uncertain and hazardous environment filled with the possibility of failing, and even when they fail they are able to recover quickly. HROs are known to perform nearly incident-free, with high safety and production performance. Research has shown that HROs are able to perform exceptionally well because of their cognitive mindset and collective mindfulness. Collective mindfulness is made up of five aspects present in all HRO which are; preoccupation with failure, reluctance to simplify, sensitivity to operations, commitment to resilience, and deference to expertise. This paper compares workplace incidents in Australia and the United States, using 2016–2018, incident data, extracted from WorkSafe Victoria, SafeWork New South Wales, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, WorkSafe Western Australia, and the United States Department of Labour, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration websites. We identify falls and being struck by moving object or equipment as the leading cause of workplace accidents, while lack of supervision, non-compliance, training, and the absence of appropriate safety procedures were identified as contributing factors to most workplace accidents. The paper further proposes CM as an incident prevention strategy that can be integrated into organizational safety management systems to mitigate accidents and provide safer working environment.

Keywords

High Reliability Organization Construction safety Reliability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge funding provided by The University of Newcastle Australia [International Postgraduate Scholarship (UNIPRS) and University of Newcastle Research Scholarship Central 50:50 (UNRSC5050) scheme] for the first author.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health SciencesUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Interdisciplinary Built Environment ResearchUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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