Organisational Accident Prevention

This research team focuses on applied research projects with industry and government partners in sectors ranging from energy pipelines to offshore oil and gas, chemicals, nuclear and aviation.

The team's process safety-related research projects are designed with a focus on real-world impact and uptake within organisations, with the Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre as the key industry partner in this research.

This social science research has at its heart the goal of keeping workers and the public safe. Grounded in the tradition of high reliability theory, work draws on specific theoretical domains such as risk, error management, professionalism, expertise, sensemaking and organisational learning.

There are three themes on which work is centred:

Organisational Safety

This theme addresses the organisational causes of accidents and how organisations can improve their safety performance. Specific projects have included:

  • Safety in design
  • Operational decision making in high hazard organisations
  • Organisational analysis of the Montara blowout
  • Organisational analysis of the San Bruno pipeline failure
  • Organisational design and its impact on process safety outcomes
  • Ensuring contract worker safety in complex organisational systems
  • Executive remuneration schemes and their impact on safety outcomes

Effective Safety Regulation

This research examines the strengths and weaknesses of current safety regulatory regimes and their implementation. Specific projects have included:

  • Understanding As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP)
  • Effectiveness of pipeline technical regulatory practice
  • The impact of economic regulation of utility companies on long term safety outcomes

Energy Pipelines in the Community

Research in this area seeks to understand ways in which hazardous linear infrastructure such as gas pipelines and people can be protected when they interact. Specific projects have included:

  • Third party work practices around pipelines
  • Land use planning practices around pipelines


Staff and adjuncts

Associate Professor Jan Hayes 
Emeritus Professor Andrew Hopkins (See also

HDR candidates

David Knowles

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer