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Journal Article


Grusenmeyer C. Accid. Anal. Prev. 2014; 73C: 187-199.


French National Institute of Research and Safety, Preventive Ergonomics and Psychology Laboratory, 1 Rue du Morvan, CS 60027, Vandoeuvre les Nancy 54519, France. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2014, Elsevier Publishing)






Maintenance activities are identified as critical both to operator safety and to systems safety and reliability. However, it is still difficult to identify maintenance workers in French occupational accident and disease statistics. Moreover, few analyses of these activities and of organizational changes in this field have been conducted. This paper presents two different approaches to this same issue. Analyses were aimed firstly at identifying the occupational exposures of these operators and at comparing them with occupational exposures of production staff and, secondly at developing understanding of normal real maintenance activities, i.e. maintenance activities that are normally actually carried out, while taking into account the socio-technical system and maintenance organization within which they lie. The use of the French SUMER 2003 survey shows that occupational exposures of maintenance staff to various constraints are more frequent than occupational exposures of their production colleagues. However, maintenance staff appear to have greater independence. Analyses were also conducted in a subcontracting urban public transport company, who outsources some maintenance work. Those analyses highlight a complex network of companies involved in maintenance activities, a substantial number of work interruptions and a significant fragmentation of the internal technicians' activities that can be cognitively costly, reduce anticipation possibilities and lead to incidents or accidents. Above all they underline internal technicians' contributions to the completion of outsourced interventions and interdependent relationships between the activities of the internal and the external technicians. Outsourcing maintenance interventions thus raises the question of risks associated with the interdependence of actual work activities undertaken by the different types of staff, since they contribute to the same maintenance intervention. This study therefore pinpoints the need to integrate inter-organizational interactions in order to understand the variability of maintenance activities and its relationships with reliability and safety. In this respect, some suggestions are provided with a prevention aim.

Language: en


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