High reliability organisations. Where do we start?
"Where do we start?" One of the most common issues for organisations working towards becoming a high reliability organisation is knowing where to begin. In this article, Commissioner for Resources Safety and Health Kate du Preez provides some simple advice on where organisations can look to start their journey on the right foot.
One of the key recommendations from Dr Sean Brady’s Review of all fatal accidents in Queensland mines and quarries from 2000 to 2019 was that the mining and quarrying industry should adopt the principles of high reliability organisations (HROs).
Commissioner for Resources Safety and Health Kate du Preez said that when speaking to people in the mining and quarrying industry about beginning their journey towards becoming a HRO, the questions she is most often asked is, ‘Where do we start?’
“A good starting point for organisations looking to move towards becoming a HRO is the principle of sensitivity to operations,” Kate said.
“HROs understand that the best picture of the current safety and health situation, especially an unexpected one, comes from frontline workers.
“Those workers dealing with issues at the coalface are better positioned to recognise potential failures in processes and to identify opportunities for how improvements can be made.”
Kate said that leaders in organisations beginning their journey on the HRO path need to understand the importance of empowering workers to report their concerns about safety and health issues.
“One of the cultural changes we need to make is understanding that bad news going from the coalface up to the boardroom is actually a good thing,” she said.
“We need to empower workers to provide that feedback and make sure they get the right response and that it is communicated back down to those who are brave enough to speak up.
“Being proactive is a big part of that change too. Leaders in HROs don’t just wait for workers to report their safety and health concerns.
“They create a culture where open communication is a key operating principle. They also take the concerns of all workers seriously and provide feedback that is meaningful.
“An organisation that does not have open and honest communication—without fear of reprisal or negative consequences for workers—can never become a HRO.
“If you are looking for a place to start in your journey towards becoming a HRO, then ensuring your organisation follows the principle of sensitivity to operations is a great place to begin.”
Dr Sean Brady’s Review of all fatal accidents in Queensland mines and quarries from 2000 to 2019 was announced on 8 July 2019 by the Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham, Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.
The review examined all fatal incidents in Queensland mines and quarries from 2000 to 2019, and based on this examination looked at why mine workers have died over the past 20 years, how industry can improve, and how the mines inspectorate can work better.
Last updated: 15 Dec 2020