This research team focuses on applied research projects with industry and government partners in sectors ranging from energy pipelines to offshore oil and gas, chemicals, nuclear and aviation.
The team's process safety-related research projects are designed with a focus on real-world impact and uptake within organisations, with the Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre as the key industry partner in this research.
This social science research has at its heart the goal of keeping workers and the public safe. Grounded in the tradition of high reliability theory, work draws on specific theoretical domains such as risk, error management, professionalism, expertise, sensemaking and organisational learning.
There are three themes on which work is centred:
This theme addresses the organisational causes of accidents and how organisations can improve their safety performance. Specific projects have included:
- Safety in design
- Operational decision making in high hazard organisations
- Organisational analysis of the Montara blowout
- Organisational analysis of the San Bruno pipeline failure
- Organisational design and its impact on process safety outcomes
- Ensuring contract worker safety in complex organisational systems
- Executive remuneration schemes and their impact on safety outcomes
Effective Safety Regulation
This research examines the strengths and weaknesses of current safety regulatory regimes and their implementation. Specific projects have included:
- Understanding As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP)
- Effectiveness of pipeline technical regulatory practice
- The impact of economic regulation of utility companies on long term safety outcomes
Energy Pipelines in the Community
Research in this area seeks to understand ways in which hazardous linear infrastructure such as gas pipelines and people can be protected when they interact. Specific projects have included:
- Third party work practices around pipelines
- Land use planning practices around pipelines
Staff and adjuncts