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Contracting and Safety

Exploring Outsourcing Practices in High-Hazard Industries

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About this book

This open access book examines the increase in outsourcing, contracting and subcontracting as ways of organising work. It explores the impact of these employment arrangements on public safety, particularly when they are linked to complex supply networks in a range of engineering industries including oil and gas, nuclear power and aviation.

The brief provides practical recommendations on how best to manage arrangements that target short-term profitability and also maintain excellence in long-term safety outcomes. The brief is a source of advice for organisations on how to maximise the benefits and minimise long-term system reliability issues that can be introduced by contracting and outsourcing, rather than assuming it to be a wholly negative or positive practice.

Contracting and Safety comprises qualitative, empirical studies focusing on high-reliability organisation. As such, this brief provides a rich picture of the experience of working in complex supply chains. It will be of interest to researchers in industrial safety, as well as safety professionals and project managers within engineering industries.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 1. Outsourcing and Safety—An Introduction
Abstract
Organisational safety theory and research has not kept pace with changing trends in the way work is organised. Outsourcing has become very common and is known to be problematic for workplace safety. This book aims to extend consideration of the link between safety and outsourcing to system safety.
Jan Hayes, Stéphanie Tillement

Open Access

Chapter 2. Contracting and Safety: Lessons from Observing an Outsourcing Process “in the Making”
Abstract
Drawing from an inductive study at a nuclear plant, this chapter provides insights about an outsourcing situation that is barely studied in the literature, i.e. an outsourcing process (1) “in the making” of (2) a production activity. We highlight how practical, professional and contractual arrangements are elaborated throughout the progressive transfer of the activity. We discuss, from a situated perspective, the positive and negative effects of outsourcing in the short term and draw attention to key lessons for ensuring safe industrial performance in the long term.
Stéphanie Tillement, Geoffrey Leuridan

Open Access

Chapter 3. Workload Planning Management of Maintenance Activities in Nuclear Power Plants: Compensation Mechanisms at the Contractor Interface
Abstract
By reviewing data from a normal operations safety assessment conducted by IRSN on nuclear safety management, we study some factors that impact the management of maintenance activities. We focus on practices, their benefits and limits, especially in the case of drifts that lead to compensation mechanisms observed at the contractor interface when dealing with workload planning.
Nicolas Dechy, Alexandre Largier

Open Access

Chapter 4. Inter-organisational Collaboration for the Safety of Railway Vehicles: A Japanese Case
Abstract
Shinkansen, the Japanese bullet train, has been operating for over 55 years without serious system accidents. Rolling stock is designed and manufactured through a collaboration between railway companies and contracted manufacturers. Safety is ensured through interactions among organisational actors, material entities, institutions and structures. Safety of such a large technical system in an inter-organisational setting cannot be built by material entities but also requires institutions for coordination, and the mindfulness and leadership of relevant actors.
Takuji Hara

Open Access

Chapter 5. Engaged Scholarship for Exploring Applicability of Relational Contracting to Nuclear Industry Projects
Abstract
We employed engaged scholarship as a research strategy for exploring the applicability of relational contracting in nuclear power projects. Insights from a series of workshops with nuclear industry practitioners in Finland indicated that although project alliancing is not a familiar contractual approach in the nuclear industry, the benefits of its implementation are increasingly recognised.
Nadezhda Gotcheva, Kirsi Aaltonen, Pertti Lahdenperä, Soili Nysten-Haarala

Open Access

Chapter 6. Contracting Qualities that Challenge Reliability: A Case of the Utility Sector
Abstract
This study uses the utility construction sector as a case to build the argument that specialisation, transience and price competition impede the reliable functioning of supply chains. These three contracting qualities obstruct the establishment of antecedents of mindfulness and the adherence to mindful organising principles. We offer three solution directions to improve contracting practice.
Léon L. olde Scholtenhuis

Open Access

Chapter 7. Managing Workplace Safety in the Temporary Organisation—Theoretical and Practical Challenges Associated with Large Construction Projects
Abstract
Compared to permanent organisations, temporary organising causes different challenges for safety and learning at the workplace. We discuss how these challenges faced by project organisations are not sufficiently acknowledged or managed, either within theories of workplace safety or current safety management approaches in the construction industry. In addition, the chapter’s insights contribute to an action-based approach to workplace safety.
Heidi Helledal Griegel, Kenneth Pettersen Gould

Open Access

Chapter 8. When the Project Ends and Operations Begin: Ensuring Safety During Commissioning Through Boundary Work
Abstract
Ensuring safe performance in inter-organisational projects involves managing a whole range of organisational, occupational and spatio-temporal boundaries. Regarding future safety, the commissioning phase is crucial. Drawing from the case of the commissioning of a new nuclear installation, we highlight the challenges associated with the transition between the project and operations and show the socio-material and temporal arrangements that support or hinder boundary work.
Anne Russel, Stéphanie Tillement

Open Access

Chapter 9. Outsourcing Risk Governance: Using Consultants to Deliver Regulatory Functions
Abstract
The Australian gas supply industry provides a case study of outsourcing by economic regulators. These regulatory agencies rely on the engagement of external consultants for technical expertise who are effectively tasked with finding ways to reduce proposed expenditure, even for safety-related items. Empirical evidence shows that economic regulators uncritically accept this advice. Such outsourcing raises the possibility of significant impact on technical regulatory outcomes.
Jan Hayes, Lynne Chester, Dolruedee Kramnaimuang King

Open Access

Chapter 10. Outsourcing in Theory and Practice: Insights from Nuclear Risk Governance
Abstract
This chapter examines two cases of risk governance in which actors interpret outsourcing as a possible source of operational vulnerability while using it to strengthen safety governance. We propose to study this discrepancy through the lens of organisational hypocrisy, suggesting a pragmatist approach as a means of analysing hypocrisy in day-to-day managerial situations.
Jérémy Eydieux

Open Access

Chapter 11. Outsourced Enforcement: Improving the Public Accountability of Building Inspectors
Abstract
Regulatory enforcement of building safety and quality has been outsourced with a move to partially privatised building inspectors in both the UK and Australia. The Grenfell Tower fire and other near misses in Australia highlight the problems this has introduced. This chapter reviews the role of building inspectors using a public administration accountability framework and recommends structural changes to improve safety for occupants of high-rise buildings.
Nader Naderpajouh, Rita Peihua Zhang, Jan Hayes

Open Access

Chapter 12. Implications for Safe Outsourcing
Abstract
This chapter describes some of the lessons highlighted by the different authors of the book. By assessing the different contributions, it discusses the main research and managerial challenges related to the nexus between safety and outsourcing practices. Two main issues are considered: (1) the implications of fragmentation and (2) the importance of addressing the temporal dimension and transience.
Stéphanie Tillement, Jan Hayes
Metadata
Title
Contracting and Safety
Editors
Assoc. Prof. Jan Hayes
Assoc. Prof. Stéphanie Tillement
Copyright Year
2022
Electronic ISBN
978-3-030-89792-5
Print ISBN
978-3-030-89791-8
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-89792-5

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