Catastrophic failures in high-reliability installations result from technical and human factors. The purpose of this paper is to use reports of the BP Texas refinery accident and the UK Buncefield oil storage explosions as the basis for exploring how protection and safety are managed in high-reliability manufacturing organisations in South Africa.
A survey of 21 high-reliability firms was undertaken to establish how firms perceived their safety and protection systems in relation to the findings of the Buncefield and BP Texas accidents. Interviews were held with staff in two firms.
The study identifies technical and behavioural shortcomings in managing safety and protective systems in manufacturing organisations. There are profound differences in perceptions of managers, supervisors and operators regarding a number of safety-related factors. Firms fail to identify all protective systems. Essential failure data for determining appropriate policies for failure finding are not collected.
Quantitative results are based on a relatively small sample and qualitative perspectives derive from two case studies.
Managers are unsure how protective devices should be managed. The paper highlights areas where significant improvements are essential if the South African firms are to meet developed world standards.
High-reliability organisations are obliged to minimise the possibility of serious incidents whose consequences may extend far beyond the physical bounds of the organisation.
Limited research has been published on the management of protective systems. This paper highlights a number of technical and behavioural issues that should be addressed for safe operation of high-reliability manufacturing organisations.
Hipkin, I. (2014), "Managing protection in high reliability organisations in an emerging country context", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 25 No. 7, pp. 1068-1086. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-07-2013-0091Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited