What I learnt from Queensland Mining’s most significant safety study, ever!


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The evidence is overwhelming. The biggest independent review of the biggest industry in Queensland shows unsafe acts are present and occur just before someone gets hurt.

Routine disruption or inattention is the most frequent unsafe act. This supports the evidence I collected working with more than 25,000 people in the past 12 years.

Organisational factors were either hard to confirm or not present.

What was studied?

In March 2008, Queensland Mines and Energy initiated a review of the role of human factors in mining incidents and accidents in Queensland. What followed was the largest independent study of human factors in Queensland Mining ever.

The study was led by Dr Scott Shappell (if you’re not familiar with his work, take a quick look at this https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-shappell-8829a22a/). It reviewed 508 accidents/incidents across Queensland in all types of mines between 2004 – 2008 using the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS). HFACS is an updated version of Reasons swiss cheese model. Shappell developed it with Wienberg when they worked as investigators for the US Military.

The model is used in multiple industries and on thousands of incidents across the planet. It’s probably the most widely used human factors framework.

What did the study find?

The study showed 94.7% of all incident investigated had one or more causal factors relating to unsafe acts.

Let that sink in for a moment. Almost ninety-five percent!