RMIT's Associate Professor Jan Hayes spent a week at the Ecole des Mines de Nantes (the Nantes School of Mines), France, developing collaborations with researchers in sociology and management safety.
The Ecole des Mines de Nantes (the Nantes School of Mines) is a technology university with an applied research focus.
The university’s Social Sciences and Management Department has strong ties to the French nuclear sector, including an industry-funded research and teaching chair in Research into Safety, Organisation, and Human Factors (RESOH).
Their research team is currently working on a range of projects linked to excellence in long-term safety outcomes, including contracting strategies, contractor and client relationships and safety in maintenance turnarounds.
During her visit in September, Hayes met with safety researchers Professor Benoit Journé, Associate Professor Stéphanie Tillement and their colleagues.
She held informal discussions with the team, participated in a full-day research seminar and presented her work on safety rules for senior managers.
Hayes also participated in a classroom exercise for international engineering students completing a Masters of Sustainable Nuclear Energy. In small groups, students ran a simplified simulation of a nuclear power station during an operational upset, using a range of decision-making strategies including trial and error, asking an expert, consensus and referring to procedures. This exercise forms the basis of the university’s teaching in human and organisational factors in safety, and students found it highly engaging.
This research has many themes in common with current projects of the Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre (EPCRC), which is led by Hayes in partnership with RMIT's Centre for Construction Work Health and Safety Research.
In future, Hayes plans to collaborate with researchers at the Ecole des Mines de Nantes to produce a number of joint publications and will continue to participate in collaborative visits and exchanges.