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Why Formal Stop Work Schemes Do Not Work

Greenshields, Hayden LU (2017) FLMU06 20142
Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety
Abstract (Swedish)
Stopping unsafe work is not only a legal but moral necessity for those that perform work in safety critical industries. Stop Work Authority Cards, Interventions, Refusals of Unsafe Work and the Andon Cord have become symbolic and physical abstractions of decentralization – a shifting of authority down to those which perform the dirty and dangerous work. Paradoxically, the manner in which these formal stop work schemes work is divergent to what these industries and organizations often advocate.

I undertook six semi-structured interviews with employees experienced in varying safety critical industries in Western Canada to investigate how decentralization is operationalized in practice. The study found that individual work stoppages... (More)
Stopping unsafe work is not only a legal but moral necessity for those that perform work in safety critical industries. Stop Work Authority Cards, Interventions, Refusals of Unsafe Work and the Andon Cord have become symbolic and physical abstractions of decentralization – a shifting of authority down to those which perform the dirty and dangerous work. Paradoxically, the manner in which these formal stop work schemes work is divergent to what these industries and organizations often advocate.

I undertook six semi-structured interviews with employees experienced in varying safety critical industries in Western Canada to investigate how decentralization is operationalized in practice. The study found that individual work stoppages through formal stop work schemes have good intentions but in reality, become counterproductive due to ensuing bureaucracy and the possibility of reprimand. Furthermore, this study finds that stopping unsafe work is actually achieved through informal means; that is, casually informing a co-worker that they are in a line of fire or that they are in a situation potentially hazardous which could cause harm to themselves or others. This informal ‘brother’s keepers’ approach appears more effective; however, it runs the risk of potential unsafe acts and conditions being misconstrued as incidences (near misses) within their organizations incident reporting structure. In reality, this ‘social interplay’ is not only encouraged amongst crew members but necessary for creating a safer work environment for the organization as a whole. (Less)
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author
Greenshields, Hayden LU
supervisor
organization
course
FLMU06 20142
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Decentralization, High Reliability Theory, Safety Critical Industries, Stopping Unsafe Work, Andon Cord, Normalization of Deviance, FLMU06
language
English
id
8928294
date added to LUP
2017-11-13 20:28:51
date last changed
2017-11-15 10:31:45
@misc{8928294,
  abstract     = {Stopping unsafe work is not only a legal but moral necessity for those that perform work in safety critical industries. Stop Work Authority Cards, Interventions, Refusals of Unsafe Work and the Andon Cord have become symbolic and physical abstractions of decentralization – a shifting of authority down to those which perform the dirty and dangerous work. Paradoxically, the manner in which these formal stop work schemes work is divergent to what these industries and organizations often advocate. 

I undertook six semi-structured interviews with employees experienced in varying safety critical industries in Western Canada to investigate how decentralization is operationalized in practice. The study found that individual work stoppages through formal stop work schemes have good intentions but in reality, become counterproductive due to ensuing bureaucracy and the possibility of reprimand. Furthermore, this study finds that stopping unsafe work is actually achieved through informal means; that is, casually informing a co-worker that they are in a line of fire or that they are in a situation potentially hazardous which could cause harm to themselves or others. This informal ‘brother’s keepers’ approach appears more effective; however, it runs the risk of potential unsafe acts and conditions being misconstrued as incidences (near misses) within their organizations incident reporting structure. In reality, this ‘social interplay’ is not only encouraged amongst crew members but necessary for creating a safer work environment for the organization as a whole.},
  author       = {Greenshields, Hayden},
  keyword      = {Decentralization,High Reliability Theory,Safety Critical Industries,Stopping Unsafe Work,Andon Cord,Normalization of Deviance,FLMU06},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Why Formal Stop Work Schemes Do Not Work},
  year         = {2017},
}