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Human and organisational factors in mine safety

The NSW Resources Regulator is currently developing a range of guidance material to help the NSW mining industry address human and organisational factors that can affect health and safety

The Mine Safety Regulatory Reform Incident Prevention Strategy is implementing the recommendations from the Mine Safety Advisory Council (MSAC) Fatalities Review. This includes examining the role of human and organisation factors in incident prevention

Human and organisational factors are the environmental, organisational and job factors, along with human and individual characteristics, that influence behaviour at work in a way that can affect health and safety. Read more on our fact sheet Human and organisational factors in mining (PDF, 125.35 KB).

The Regulator has published a report on the findings of the human and organisational factors analysis of incidents reported across the NSW mining sector. Read the on the review The scope of this review was limited to 200 incident notifications and were identified as part of the daily incident review process undertaken by principal inspectors. Read more on Human and organisational factors (PDF, 85.16 KB).

Factors that can affect safe work behaviour

Human  and organisational factors can include:

  • human failures, including errors and non-compliance
  • over-reliance on procedures to manage the risk and lack of user-friendly procedures
  • competence, through a combination of skills, experience and knowledge
  • staffing and workload, having the right numbers of the right people in the right place at the right time
  • management of organisational change and organisational structural design
  • communication of safety critical information, both verbally and written
  • design of control rooms, plant and equipment
  • fatigue from excessive work times or poorly designed shift patterns
  • organisational culture and the 'way things are done' in the workplace
  • adequate resources for maintenance, inspection and testing.

Guidance and recommendations

The department is currently developing a range of guidance material to help the NSW mining industry address human factors issues. In the meantime, information can be found on the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

The department recommends that mine operators, persons conducting a business or undertaking, and other duty holders at mines and petroleum sites consider the human and organisational factors information published by the HSE when managing risks and investigating incidents.

Review of data

The Regulator engaged the Keil Centre to independently review its human and organisational factors analyses over the past 5 years, where human error and deliberate non-compliance played a role in safety incidents. 

Case studies

The department has developed several case studies to provide a snapshot of NSW mining incidents and or fatalities in the context of human and organisational factors. Download the human factors case studies, or read more about the incidents they are based on: