Title: Workplace accidents as a source of knowledge: opportunities and obstacles

Authors: Hernâni Veloso Neto

Addresses: Institute of Sociology, University of Porto, Via Panorâmica, s/n, 4150-564 Porto, Portugal

Abstract: Organisations must develop capabilities to learn from work accidents. These events do not have positive effects within organisational contexts and so when they do occur they must become an opportunity to learn and effect behavioural changes. This implies that work accidents need to be understood as a source of knowledge and as an opportunity for organisational learning and development. This paper seeks to cultivate this phenomenon through review of specialised literature and a case study conducted in a metalworking industry. It was observed that these events can raise several learning situations; however, there are also obstacles that can inhibit their effectiveness. It was possible to identify three types of barriers to organisational learning from work accidents: structural barriers (related to the organisational system), inter-individual barriers (related to the interpersonal relations system) and intra-individual barriers (related to the individual scheme of representations).

Keywords: workplace accidents; organisational knowledge; organisational learning; metalworking industry; learning barriers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2012.052010

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2012 Vol.1 No.4, pp.376 - 389

Received: 09 Jul 2012
Accepted: 16 Sep 2012

Published online: 16 Aug 2014 *

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