TitleIs an Efficacious Operation a Safe Operation: The Role of Operational Practices in Worker Safety Outcomes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsPagell, M, Dibrell, C, Veltri, A, Maxwell, E
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Pagination511 - 521
Date Published8/2014

One of the most fundamental indicators of a facility's social sustainability is the health and safety of its workers. Yet the literature provides little guidance for engineering managers, workers or researchers trying to understand how practices designed to enhance productivity will impact the safety of operational workers. The present research addresses that gap by simultaneously examining operational “best” practices such as quality management and just-in-time and performance outcomes such as productivity and worker safety. To control for the myriad of potential problems with self-reports of worker safety performance, we match secondary data provided by the state of Oregon with managers' self-reported responses to operational practices. The results show that the relationship between operational practices and safety outcomes is nuanced with just-in-time harming worker safety, an impact that can be mitigated by the adoption of team-based work up to a point, as the relationship between JIT and team-based work is U-shaped.