Associate Professor Jan Hayes and Dr Vanessa McDermott presented papers and facilitated a workshop at the 20th Joint Technical Meeting on Pipeline Research in Paris in May 2015.
Organised by the Pipeline Research Council International, the European Pipeline Research Group and the Australian Pipeline and Gas Association, the Joint Technical Meeting (JTM) is a forum where new research is discussed and future activities planned.
Attendance at the JTM is by invitation with only a small number of papers accepted.
Associate Professor Jan Hayes facilitated a workshop on human and organisational factors (HOF) in accident prevention. Several research project topics were identified, such as more effective conceptualisations of risk-based decision-making, and ways to integrate HOF work into organisational cultures across the pipeline industry globally.
Hayes’s paper, ‘Fantasy Planning, Black Swans and Integrity Management: The San Bruno Pipeline Disaster’, used the black swan metaphor—in this context describing accidents as events that could not be predicted based on available knowledge—to emphasise the critical role of knowledge, learning, diversity of views, experience and expertise in risk management.
In Hayes’s research, The San Bruno disaster illustrates the way that knowledge that could have been used to predict the failure was not valued and was not available to key decision-makers. The disaster provides key lessons for organisations relying on technical expertise to prevent low frequency, high consequence events.
Dr Vanessa McDermott’s paper, ‘What is Risk? Third Party Motivations to Reduce the Potential for Pipeline Strike’ explored risk perceptions at an organisation involved in work near pipelines.
“The results suggest an organisational culture where safety is an ‘umbrella’ concern rather than embedded in everyday work practices. This research suggests ways the pipeline industry can communicate risk to organisations to reduce risks of third party interference,” she said.