Exploring the organisational preconditions for occupational accidents in food industry: A qualitative approach

Publisher's full text
Marianne Törner

The continuing high frequency of occupational accidents in the Swedish food industry calls for new approaches to better understand the underlying factors. In the present study, 54 accidents involving hand injuries were investigated from the operators' perspective, to explore the organisational preconditions. In-depth interviews were conducted with operators and their supervisors, and 24 of these interviews were analysed using the grounded theory method. The core category 'safety as a process' was identified encompassing the perception of the process of the accident at operative level and organisational preconditions that increased the risk of occupational accidents. These preconditions were open factors: deficiencies in technical/physical environment and work organisation; and concealed factors: insufficient communication and learning, a high level of responsibility in combination with low control, conflicting goals and a gap between procedures and practice. These preconditions lead to risk acceptance, resignation towards improved safety and normalisation of risk. Through the analysis a five-step hypothesis was empirically generated. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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