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Networking for knowledge transfer in occupational safety and health

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10th International Conference on the Prevention of Accidents at Work 2019

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Networking for knowledge transfer in occupational safety and health

  1. 1. Safety and health at work is everyone’s concern. It’s good for you. It’s good for business. Networking for knowledge transfer in occupational safety and health Tim Tregenza Network manager
  2. 2. 2 Essential components of a health and safety system Legislation Legal base Labour inspectorate Effective compliance Problems, duties, solutions Awareness raising Tools, knowledge, access to professional support Technical support Macro and micro level Social dialogue EU, national, sector, local Structured approach
  3. 3. 3 SLIDO Poll  How did you get your knowledge to really do your current job? •Formal education (e.g. University degree) •Doing my own research •In-house training •From colleagues and peers •I just had to make it up as I went along!
  4. 4. 4 The importance of knowledge transfer  Prevention requires changing the behavior of people at work •Workers, supervisors, managers, inspectors, OSH professionals  For people to change behaviour, they need to know why and how  The how and why of prevention originates from research, passing to policy and practice  How can we effectively transfer the necessary information? Can we create networks to share practical information to enable behavior change in the workplace? Can we create networks that share information from research to policy and practice?
  5. 5. 5 Knowledge transfer via networks “Form (ever) follows function” - Louis Sullivan, architect  Purpose (of building) defines the “look and shape”  Philosophy of efficiency: Minimising cost and maximising value When looking for effective knowledge transfer via networks:  What knowledge do you want to share with whom? (the “function”) Only from this can the form be devised:  How institutional (formal)?  How connected (centralised)?  How virtual (geographical)?
  6. 6. 6 Networks – formal and informal, centralised and decentralised EU OSHA National focal point network Individual network – organic clusters
  7. 7. 7 Dimensions of knowledge communities (1) Andriessen (2005) considered 3 dimensions of knowledge communities: • Connectivity • Institutionality • Virtuality This allow us to map different knowledge transfer networks Virtuality Institutionality Connectivity High institutionality, high connectivity, low virtuality. The formal committee (e.g. SLIC) J. H. Erik Andriessen Archetypes of Knowledge Communities 2005
  8. 8. 8 Dimensions of knowledge communities (2) Virtuality Connectivity Institutionality High virtuality, High institutionality, Low connectivity. High virtuality, low connectivity, low institutionality. Connectivity Institutionality Virtuality The web forum The Delphi study
  9. 9. 9 Dimensions of knowledge communities (3) Virtuality Connectivity Institutionality High virtuality, high connectivity, low institutionality. Institutionality Connectivity Virtuality Low institutionality, high connectivity, low virtuality. The traditional community of practice (Geographical) The community of practice (Virtual)
  10. 10. 10 Community of practice (CoP) – requirements  A domain of interest •A common theme to which the community is committed •E.g. labour inspection in occupational safety and health  The community •An interactive competent community (who may not work directly with each other) building relationships with each other to enable learning •E.g. the inspectors meet for coffee every Friday  The practice •A community of practitioners developing a shared repertoire of resources to address recurring problem •E.g. answering the question “what did you do when you saw that?”
  11. 11. 11 CoPs for knowledge transfer in occupational safety and health  Communities of practice offer practical knowledge transfer  Being part of a community of practice means that individuals: •Are better informed for decision-making •Have increased commitment and engagement (from group membership)  Organisations can facilitate CoPs to share knowledge on OSH issues by: •Identifying potential community members •Providing communication means •Providing time for knowledge transfer •Accepting that knowledge shared by CoPs may not be “on message” •Accepting that membership of CoPs is organic, and cannot be forced  This lack of control can concern organisations
  12. 12. 12 Transferring knowledge from research to policy / practice  What knowledge should be transferred? •The information may already have been shared via scientific journal  Specifically, to whom should the message be transferred?  What do the researchers want the practitioners to do with the knowledge?  By whom should the message be transferred? •Directly from researchers to practitioners or via intermediary?  How should the knowledge be transferred? •Formally or informally? How can networks facilitate this transfer?
  13. 13. 13 Using networks to transfer research knowledge to policy and practice  Researchers and practitioners may not be in the same communities •Find a “superconnector” who can bridge between the two communities •This person understands both communities and facilitates communication  Networks can provide a common space for the communities to overlap •Opportunities to find collaboration •Funding to facilitate knowledge sharing •Meetings to allow knowledge transfer  Example: ENETOSH brings together educators, OSH people, policy-makers, researchers on a common theme
  14. 14. 14 Networks transferring knowledge from research to practice: Example  EU OSHA has a network of national focal points (FoP) in each Member State, each with a focal point manager. Each FoP runs a tripartite national network  EU OSHA publishes a triennial survey of Europe’s workplaces to provide information to policy-makers – this information is shared primarily in report form  To transfer knowledge, EU OSHA: •Uses the national focal point managers as “superconnectors” to bridge between EU level actors and national policy makers •Uses the national focal point network as a tool to provide resources for national policy level meetings (small-scale) •Adapts the information available to specific national-level knowledge highlighting the key messages
  15. 15. 15 Conclusions  Knowledge-sharing is essential for improving prevention  Networks are an essential means for knowledge transfer in occupational safety and health  People network, organisations facilitate  Form follows function •Know what you want to achieve and build the knowledge transfer network accordingly  Communities of practice can be an effective way of sharing practical knowledge  To reach across from research to policy and practice may need different approaches, where: •Organisations provide greater facilitation; and •Networks provide a “superconnector” to make the bridge
  16. 16. 16 Thank you EU OSHA runs and engages with many networks to transfer knowledge throughout the global OSH community All our information is available free of charge (in up to 25 languages) at OSHA.EUROPA.EU