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Research themes

Work and workers in the 2040’s

What will it be like working in high-hazard industrial sectors in 2040? What will be at stake for industrial safety? Anticipating “the industry of the future”, the impact that the evolution of society, technologies, organization and communication modes have on human work, is a priority. Foncsi and partners are adressing these issues through a high-level 18 month-research programme that includes a residential seminar with international experts, and the publication of an open-access book by Springer.

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Contracting relationships

Interventions by contractors create multiple safety challenges, and are the subject of numerous provisions that are found at all stages of the process: from the selection of contractors, through to the execution and assessment of the work. Provisions generally concern both occupational and industrial safety, and are part of the “quality” component of tender documents. As they are intended both to address safety performance and to provide a legal defence in the event of an accident, a contractor can find itself confronted by very disparate requirements, both in terms of form and substance, which creates a very heavy administrative burden for both partners. Can examples of good practice be found, in the context of an agile partnership that ensures safe working conditions?

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HOF

Many companies are keen for human and organisational factors (HOF) to be taken into account in industrial safety policy, albeit at different paces. Some companies recruited specialists a long time ago and have structured their approach, whilst others are still at the initial contact stage. Depending on their context, companies can face difficulties in defining the notions of human and organisational factors and industrial safety. What are the concepts, the approaches by discipline and the professions (ergonomists, HF specialists, sociologists, etc.) that need to be mobilised? What relations should be built between a safety culture approach and an HOF approach?

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Safety Culture

The question addresses the link between safety models and the safety culture in order to increase safety within companies carrying out hazardous activities.

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Skills & competencies

The significant resources dedicated to safety-related training are perceived not to be paying off any longer, especially in industrial fields that have already achieved a high level of safety. Despite all the efforts made in terms of training in a broad sense, there is no clear evidence as to the actual safety outcomes.

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The value of industrial safety

This research program is divided in two topics: "The value of safety and safety values" and "Resilience: Improving safety management".

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Dynamics of negotiation and compromise

Two major evolutions have recently impacted the management of these hazardous activities: the increase in the scope of “stakeholders”, and the calling into question of the notion of acceptability of risks, which introduce perturbations in our current responses to the question of “living together” with hazardous activities.

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Risk, uncertainty and decision-making

How do people involved in hazardous activities perceive and cope with uncertainty, when analyzing problems, making decisions or taking stances?

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Arbitration between partially conflicting goals

Safety is an important goal for most organisations. However, decision-makers must also take other requirements into account: economic goals such as cost-cutting, innovation and business continuity; legal and societal requirements such as public tolerability of risk and aspirations for a more democratic decision-making process. There is a need better to understand how decision-makers arbitrate between maintaining stringent safety goals and these other considerations, at multiple levels: inside companies, in local government, at the national and european levels, and transversely to these different levels.

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Vulnerability of organizations

The ability of organizations to make sense of the state of their environment, to detect new threads, to adopt new technologies and organizational attributes, contribute to their resilience.

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Sociocultural success factors for experience feedback

Industrial firms have been using experience feedback and lessons learned analysis for many years. How can they develop a reporting culture; how to avoid complacency at all hierarchical levels?

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Dynamics of negotiation and compromise : Publications

You will find here the work that has been published in the Foncsi's series "Cahiers" or "Regards", but also some academic publications in international papers, communication at conferences etc. All these references are in English language, for publications in French, please refer to the French website.

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