The impact of non-technical issues on decision-making by coal mining incident management teams

Fuller, Ruth Grace (2015). The impact of non-technical issues on decision-making by coal mining incident management teams PhD Thesis, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2015.844

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Author Fuller, Ruth Grace
Thesis Title The impact of non-technical issues on decision-making by coal mining incident management teams
School, Centre or Institute Sustainable Minerals Institute
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2015.844
Publication date 2015-09-14
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor David Cliff
Robin Burgess-Limerick
Total pages 221
Total black and white pages 221
Language eng
Subjects 170202 Decision Making
170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology
091405 Mining Engineering
Formatted abstract
A serious incident in an underground coal mine can claim many lives in an instant. The lives of those who survive the initial moments can be dependent on the decisions made by the incident management team (IMT). The IMT is a team of mine employees assembled immediately upon the discovery of an incident to manage the response. Evaluations of annual emergency exercises conducted at underground coal-mines in Queensland have indicated that IMT decision-making is generally sub-optimal. This finding was echoed by the Royal Commission into the New Zealand Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy that occurred in 2010. In many other high-reliability roles technical and non-technical issues have been found to impact decision-making. The goal of this research is to explore the role of non-technical issues in emergency decision-making following an underground coal mining incident. A review of the Queensland emergency exercise reports, direct observation of emergency simulations, and interviews with twenty-five mining personnel with real-life incident management experience at underground coal mine emergencies has led to the development of a non-technical skills taxonomy for decision-making in mining IMTs. The decision-making process in a mining IMT has been shown to be a broad socio-psycho-technical process within which technical and non-technical issues cannot be separated. Technical, social and cognitive skills are imperative to maintain adequate communication, situation awareness and optimal decision-making throughout the emergency management process.
Keyword Decision making
Non-technical skills
Incident control
Situation awareness

Document type: Thesis
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Created: Wed, 26 Aug 2015, 19:12:25 EST by Ruth Fuller on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service