The impact of personal liability concerns on incident reporting in engineered systems

Jan Hayes, Janice Wong, Christina Scott-Young, Sarah MASLEN

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

Abstract

Previous research on aviation and health sectors has found that individual blame for small failures discourages incident reporting and so adversely impacts disaster prevention. This finding has widely influenced practice in organizations relying on engineers. Based on a survey of Australian engineers (n = 275) this paper examines how personal legal liability considerations impact on hazard reporting and other forms of knowledge sharing. We found that 48% of engineers are more likely to report hazards despite changes in societal expectations and the tendency to blame. Only 5% indicated that they were less likely to report hazards as a result of their liability concerns. We suggest that these findings are due to the nature of engineering work, where decision-making is distributed across time, place and people. In this environment, blame and responsibility are less attributable to individual actors. Equally, reporting a hazard may act to transfer responsibility and so limit one’s personal liability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSafety and Reliability - Safe Societies in a Changing World
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 28th International European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2018
EditorsStein Haugen, Anne Barros, Coen van Gulijk, Trond Kongsvik, Jan Erik Vinnem
Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
PublisherCRC Press
Chapter18
Pages143-150
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781351174664
ISBN (Print)9780815386827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventEuropean Safety and Reliability Conference 2018 - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 17 Jun 201821 Jun 2018

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Safety and Reliability Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleESREL 2018
CountryNorway
CityTrondheim
Period17/06/1821/06/18

Fingerprint

Hazards
Engineers
Disaster prevention
Aviation
Decision making
Health

Cite this

Hayes, J., Wong, J., Scott-Young, C., & MASLEN, S. (2018). The impact of personal liability concerns on incident reporting in engineered systems. In S. Haugen, A. Barros, C. van Gulijk, T. Kongsvik, & J. E. Vinnem (Eds.), Safety and Reliability - Safe Societies in a Changing World: Proceedings of the 28th International European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2018 (pp. 143-150). London, United Kingdom: CRC Press. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781351174664
Hayes, Jan ; Wong, Janice ; Scott-Young, Christina ; MASLEN, Sarah. / The impact of personal liability concerns on incident reporting in engineered systems. Safety and Reliability - Safe Societies in a Changing World: Proceedings of the 28th International European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2018. editor / Stein Haugen ; Anne Barros ; Coen van Gulijk ; Trond Kongsvik ; Jan Erik Vinnem. London, United Kingdom : CRC Press, 2018. pp. 143-150
@inproceedings{6e0d5f5551094446968b136e18f97e34,
title = "The impact of personal liability concerns on incident reporting in engineered systems",
abstract = "Previous research on aviation and health sectors has found that individual blame for small failures discourages incident reporting and so adversely impacts disaster prevention. This finding has widely influenced practice in organizations relying on engineers. Based on a survey of Australian engineers (n = 275) this paper examines how personal legal liability considerations impact on hazard reporting and other forms of knowledge sharing. We found that 48{\%} of engineers are more likely to report hazards despite changes in societal expectations and the tendency to blame. Only 5{\%} indicated that they were less likely to report hazards as a result of their liability concerns. We suggest that these findings are due to the nature of engineering work, where decision-making is distributed across time, place and people. In this environment, blame and responsibility are less attributable to individual actors. Equally, reporting a hazard may act to transfer responsibility and so limit one’s personal liability.",
author = "Jan Hayes and Janice Wong and Christina Scott-Young and Sarah MASLEN",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1201/9781351174664",
language = "English",
isbn = "9780815386827",
pages = "143--150",
editor = "Stein Haugen and Anne Barros and {van Gulijk}, Coen and Trond Kongsvik and Vinnem, {Jan Erik}",
booktitle = "Safety and Reliability - Safe Societies in a Changing World",
publisher = "CRC Press",

}

Hayes, J, Wong, J, Scott-Young, C & MASLEN, S 2018, The impact of personal liability concerns on incident reporting in engineered systems. in S Haugen, A Barros, C van Gulijk, T Kongsvik & JE Vinnem (eds), Safety and Reliability - Safe Societies in a Changing World: Proceedings of the 28th International European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2018. CRC Press, London, United Kingdom, pp. 143-150, European Safety and Reliability Conference 2018, Trondheim, Norway, 17/06/18. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781351174664

The impact of personal liability concerns on incident reporting in engineered systems. / Hayes, Jan; Wong, Janice; Scott-Young, Christina; MASLEN, Sarah.

Safety and Reliability - Safe Societies in a Changing World: Proceedings of the 28th International European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2018. ed. / Stein Haugen; Anne Barros; Coen van Gulijk; Trond Kongsvik; Jan Erik Vinnem. London, United Kingdom : CRC Press, 2018. p. 143-150.

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

TY - GEN

T1 - The impact of personal liability concerns on incident reporting in engineered systems

AU - Hayes, Jan

AU - Wong, Janice

AU - Scott-Young, Christina

AU - MASLEN, Sarah

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Previous research on aviation and health sectors has found that individual blame for small failures discourages incident reporting and so adversely impacts disaster prevention. This finding has widely influenced practice in organizations relying on engineers. Based on a survey of Australian engineers (n = 275) this paper examines how personal legal liability considerations impact on hazard reporting and other forms of knowledge sharing. We found that 48% of engineers are more likely to report hazards despite changes in societal expectations and the tendency to blame. Only 5% indicated that they were less likely to report hazards as a result of their liability concerns. We suggest that these findings are due to the nature of engineering work, where decision-making is distributed across time, place and people. In this environment, blame and responsibility are less attributable to individual actors. Equally, reporting a hazard may act to transfer responsibility and so limit one’s personal liability.

AB - Previous research on aviation and health sectors has found that individual blame for small failures discourages incident reporting and so adversely impacts disaster prevention. This finding has widely influenced practice in organizations relying on engineers. Based on a survey of Australian engineers (n = 275) this paper examines how personal legal liability considerations impact on hazard reporting and other forms of knowledge sharing. We found that 48% of engineers are more likely to report hazards despite changes in societal expectations and the tendency to blame. Only 5% indicated that they were less likely to report hazards as a result of their liability concerns. We suggest that these findings are due to the nature of engineering work, where decision-making is distributed across time, place and people. In this environment, blame and responsibility are less attributable to individual actors. Equally, reporting a hazard may act to transfer responsibility and so limit one’s personal liability.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85058107702&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.mendeley.com/research/safety-reliability-safe-societies-changing-world

U2 - 10.1201/9781351174664

DO - 10.1201/9781351174664

M3 - Conference contribution

SN - 9780815386827

SP - 143

EP - 150

BT - Safety and Reliability - Safe Societies in a Changing World

A2 - Haugen, Stein

A2 - Barros, Anne

A2 - van Gulijk, Coen

A2 - Kongsvik, Trond

A2 - Vinnem, Jan Erik

PB - CRC Press

CY - London, United Kingdom

ER -

Hayes J, Wong J, Scott-Young C, MASLEN S. The impact of personal liability concerns on incident reporting in engineered systems. In Haugen S, Barros A, van Gulijk C, Kongsvik T, Vinnem JE, editors, Safety and Reliability - Safe Societies in a Changing World: Proceedings of the 28th International European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2018. London, United Kingdom: CRC Press. 2018. p. 143-150 https://doi.org/10.1201/9781351174664