In the industry, conflicts may occur between production and fire safety, sometimes to the point where the fire protection system is bypassed. A common answer to such issues is to strengthen administrative barriers and rules. However, in an industrial organization where resources are already strained, even more checks and routines will only run the risk of aggravating the problem at hand. SEBRA studied the possibilities for a long-term usability perspective in short-term building projects.
Purpose and aim
The SEBRA project aimed to investigate preconditions for a well-functioning fire safety system, applying a systems perspective on work and safety. The focus was on understanding the human contribution to fire safety and how that can be supported.
Three main themes were explored through field work (interviews and observations) in Swedish industrial workplaces:
(1) How do operations and the staff interact with fire safety installations in everyday work
(2) What is the main focus of fire safety design, how is it carried out and how do the end results affect fire safety
(3) What are the success factors behind positive outcomes from fire incidents
When a fire occurs at the workplace, a joint system of people and technology is activated to put it out. For this system to function, interplay between its different parts must be smooth. Formal fire safety work, however, focuses primarily on construction, regulatory compliance and fire protection installations. This means that success factors such as the personnel's professional knowledge, experience, adaptability, collaboration and creativity are made invisible.
In case of a fire, the industrial personnel are a large, but under-utilized, success factor. The combination of fire knowledge and process knowledge is critical. Today, highly automated industrial environments can be a threat to the important process knowledge.
The industry needs complementary methods to understand and cater for long-term operations in short-term change projects. This could lead to more sustainable fire protection installations and organizations.
Project lead and research