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How The Simplification of Work Can Degrade Safety: A Gas Company Case Study

  • Hortense Blazsin


    (CRC - Centre de recherche sur les Risques et les Crises - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)

  • Franck Guarnieri


    (CRC - Centre de recherche sur les Risques et les Crises - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)

  • Christophe Martin


    (CRC - Centre de recherche sur les Risques et les Crises - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)

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    Work is focused on a gas company that wishes to develop a better understanding of its safety culture and identify potential enhancement opportunities. The hypothesis that emerged from an exploratory phase of work suggests that the corporate restructuring initiated four years ago, which has divided the company into distinct business units, has reduced organizational reliability. This issue raises a question faced by most industrial organizations, namely the trade-off between productivity and safety. On the one hand, streamlining activities offers an opportunity to save money, particularly through economies of scale and employee specialization. On the other hand maintaining flexibility generates costs, but provides a defence against silo effects, which are detrimental to safety. This paper describes how the company was restructured and the effects on risk management. The aim is to better understand the effects of the rationalisation on organizational reliability and performance, in order to identify potential solutions that may limit any counter-productive impacts.

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    Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00839473.

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    Date of creation: 25 Jun 2013
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    Publication status: Published - Presented, 5th International Symposium on Resilience Engineering, 2013, Netherlands
    Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00839473
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