How can organisations develop dynamic safety capability?
In collaboration with the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA), researchers from The University of Western Australia developed a model of safety capability.

Safety capability involves two capabilities, the ability to deal with the day to day (“operational” capability) and the ability to deal with the unpredictable and to adapt  (“dynamic” capability). To develop overall safety capability, there needs to be a balance and fit between 3 enabling capitals: human capital, social capital and organisational capital.

Safety Capability Conference Poster (0.60 MB)

In complex systems, people interact with technology to manage uncertainty and ensure reliability. This approach integrates three perspectives about the interaction of human and technical processes to create overall safety capability. Safety capability is derived from three types of capital: organisational capital, social capital, and human capital. 

In essence, the capitals are the resources that combine to produce safety capability. The three capitals encompass the various skills, communication processes, and organisational systems that combine to create highly reliable operations. 

Organisational Capital
Resources derived from institutional knowledge, operating procedures and systems, organisational routines.

Social Capital 
Resources derived from social interaction, organisational culture, and communication networks.

Human Capital 
Resources derived from the knowledge, skills and experience of individuals.

The idea of three capitals is powerful because it brings together elements of high reliability that are clearly important yet often disconnected and difficult to articulate. The content and scope of the fitness-to-operate framework enable a more comprehensive coverage of factors that influence short-term and long-term safety outcomes. 


Winthrop Prof. Mark Griffin
Prof. Melinda Hodkiewicz
Jeremy Dunster
Dr. Lisette Kanse
Prof. Kathy Parkes
Dannielle Finnerty
Winthrop Prof. John Cordery


Relevant Papers

Griffin, M. A., Hodkiewicz, M., Dunster, J., Kanse, L., Parkes, K., Finnerty, D., Cordery, J. & Unsworth, K. (in press). A conceptual framework and practical guide for assessing fitness-to-operate in the offshore oil and gas industry. Accident Analysis & Prevention