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'Freedom Without responsibility' Occupational Communities and Safe Practice in Railway Maintenance

Professor Johan M. Sanne
Linkoping University, Sweden

Date: 22 November 2005
Time
: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Venue
: CARR Seminar Room, H615

Abstract

Railway infrastructure maintenance technicians create conditions for a safe and timely traffic. Simultaneously, their work may disturb or create risks to traffic if it is not properly performed. Lastly, the technicians are themselves exposed to risks as an integrated part of their work. They claim a responsibility to manage risks, including attitudes and practices that aim to "make it work": flexible coordination concerning conditions for track access, calculated risk-taking and informed rule bending. Thus, responsible practice requires organizational discretion. These practices and related attitudes, expressed as "to know what you are up to", are enforced through mechanisms of social control.

 

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