In the following report, the operations and factors associated with them causing major casualties to the workers working in BHP Billiton were checked. For better evaluation of the issues and organisational challenge, the group decision-making was encouraged for the assessment. The literature review on team decision making and its advantage or disadvantages were mentioned. Also, the secondary data was collected and analysed. It was determined that the fatality factor in the mining sector is rising. This must be because of improper health conditions, poor maintenance of machineries, etc. The data was collected by making use of government statistic portal for casualties. At the end, three Decision-making tools and models are employed. These are pure intuition, dual processing, and bounded rationality.
The global mining sector is one of those sectors that are quite hazardous for workers due to various hazardous operations. According to the United Nation’s data, more than half of the workplace accidents in the mining sector take place in Asia-Pacific region. In the developing country like India, the scenario is quite worse. On an average, 0.3 deaths occurs in coalmines per 1000 workers in India. However, in Australia, the figure is 0.16 deaths. The coal and metal extraction mines are the most vulnerable types of mines where the workers’ vulnerability is quite high. The primary operation of a mining industry is excavation, drilling of tunnels, exploration of minerals in narrow tunnels, and much more. All these are quite dangerous for humans. Hence, there is a strong need of having an integrated workplace health and safety guidelines and standards to stop or mitigate such grave incidents. In the assessment, the Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) policy is trying to be formulated based on the data analysis. For that purpose, the BHP Billiton is the selected organisation and the workplace health and safety is the chosen organisational challenge. The whole process is going to be a team work and therefore, each member is assigned some duty to carry out. The literature review is done on team decision-making and its significance in organisations. Based on the analysis of data and interpretation, some suggestions are provided and the use of decision-making tools are also detailed out. These tools are based on intuition decision-making or rational approach.
The primary aim of carrying out this research work is to access the operations of mining sector from workplace health and safety viewpoint and form a comprehensive policy and standards for BHP Billiton by making use of group decision-making process.
The main motive of formulating this report is to identify the hazardous operations in the BHP Billiton and their likely impact on the health and safety of the workers. Also, the report would provide an overview of the group decision-making on the formulation of the policies related to WHS. For that purpose, the annual reports, government data and reports, and journal articles would be referred to understand what sort of operations in the mining company can be termed as hazardous and what policies and standards can be made to protect the workers (Smit, et.al 2016). The group discussion would be done on the topic and data collected would be analysed by making use of certain tools. The final policy making is done after the consensus of the group members. At last, a few recommendations are provided for the better decision-making based on certain decision-making models, theories, and tools.
It is quite significant to understand that formulation of WHS cannot be done by an individual as there are numerous parameters and aspects. Hence, better analysis can only be done if it is done in group. There are members in the team belonging to the different background having experience in diverse field and expertise in different domain (Xiao, et.al, 2016). Their capabilities are even different. In total, the group has three members. For making this research work on data analytics to be done efficiently and effectively, the work was divided accordingly as per area of interest and expertise (Li, et. al, 2016). For better coordination and execution of the research, the team decided to stay connected and updated through phone calls, whatsapp, and emails. The members are supposed to be present in the weekly meetings in which discussions could be done. Based on their performance and input in the work, each member is rated (See appendix 1). This ensured the quality of research and group decision-making.
In the words of the authorsGardner & Bateman, (2017), team decision making can be defined as the situation in which a group of people collectively takes a decision by analyzing different alternatives provided by the group members. Every individual in the group provides his or her version of a solution to the situation and the best suitable alternative is selected for the resolution of the issue (Gardner & Bateman, 2017). Team decision making is the best way to make all the important decisions in business as when there are more suggestions, there are more possibilities of better and effective solutions.
As per the words of the researchersKalkman, et. al., (2018), team decision making is a concept that has the utmost importance. The benefits or significance of team decision making is focused on by the researcher. The very first importance is that when there is team decision making, there are diverse suggestions for the issues faced by individuals or business organizations. When there are more ideas and opinions, the decision made is better in nature and are for the betterment of the organization. The next significance of team decision making is that there is the participation of all the team or group members which holds special prominence in a team (Kalkman, et. al., 2018). The participation and interest of all the team members in the decision making makes them feel important and they recognize themselves as an integral part of the business.
In the opinion of the authorsXiao, et. al., (2016), team decision making is very important as team decision making leads to team building and team development. It is important that the bond between the members of a team is made strong so that they can collectively progress. When decisions are taken in teams, it leads to a strong bond between all the team members and this paves a way to the team development and team growth. Team decision making can be considered as democratic decision making and it is its advantage too. The opinions and suggestions of all the group members are taken into account for the final decision making which motivates the team members (Xiao, et. al., 2016). Motivation is imperative for the better operations of a team and the whole organization.
As some authors have presented the advantages of team decision making, there are certain authors Chen, et. al., (2019), that disagree with the arguments and portray the other side of the disadvantages of team decision making (Chen, et. al., 2019). In the views of the authors, team decision making has a disadvantage of compromised decision making. As there are expert opinions of various people, all of them cannot agree on one point and some of the other group members have to compromise on the decision. There is a lack of onus in the team decision making as responsibility cannot be fixed on any one person. If the decision goes wrong, the whole group is accountable and accountability cannot be given to a person.
As per the research of the authorsLi, et. al., (2016), data analytics is an important aspect while team decision making. The data analytics acts as the deciding factor for the team members. The creation of a big data ecosystem is facilitated by the use of data analytics in team decision making (Li, et. al., 2016). Data analytics is important for accelerating the decision time for the team decision making as when decisions are taken in a team, it takes a lot of time.
Data collection and analytics help in getting insight into the real-world issues the organisation faces. There are numerous ways to understand the data but the most convenient and easiest on is visualisation. In BHP Billiton, the workers have to work at a depth of hundreds of meters. This makes the working conditions quite fatal for them.For better understanding of the organisational challenge, it is important to collect the data relevant to the mining sector and casualties occurred in the past few years. This would help in understanding how concerning the WHS challenge is and why it is important for every organisation to have proper standards and policies regarding workers’ safety. The data has been taken from the Australian government’s online portal for statistics called ‘Safe Work Australia.’ The data was collected by the government agencies by making use of questionnaire, police records of every year, and organisations’ records.
The statistical data has been collected from ‘Safe Work Australia’, a government owned portal that provides data for workplace fatalities in different sector. One can get data from 2003 to 2018 from the website. In addition to this, other government records and data provided in the journal articles is also referred for carrying out this project and group decision-making.
Safe Work Australia is one of the statutory agencies of Australian Government formed under the Safe Work Australia Act of 2008. The agency came into existence in the year 2009 and works for improving work health and safety aspects of organisation operating in the country. This shows that the data is authentic and can be trusted for this project. It is quite important to note that workplace fatalities data is recorded annually and is stored in the workplace-related traumatic casualties’ database. Information is coded as per Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006 (Safe Work Australia, 2019). For ensuring the relevancy of the data, pictorial presentation of the data is done (graphs and charts). This helps in checking any discrepancies in the data. The data is fed into MS Excel for analysis purpose.
Prior to formulation of the WHS policies, it is quite rationale to discuss the current fatality rate and trends in the mining sector. There are numerous reason for rising concerns for workplace safety measures that would be discussed in next section.
Of all the sectors in Australia, the transport and agriculture sector have highest fatalities rate. On comparing the data of mining sector with its 10 years average, a decline has been noticed but this does not mean that fatalities are decreasing. It means it is again increasing year by year from 2012 to 2019 rather than 1990s to 2000s (Safe Work Australia, 2019).
Table 1: Fatality Rate in Mining Sector (number of casualties per 100,000)
Source:Safe Work Australia, 2019
From the above figure, it is quite clear that the fatalities rate in the mining sector is increasing year by year. The organisation and workers are ignoring their safety measures and guidelines causing serious injuries and fatalities as well.
Till October 2019, 124 workers got killed in their workplace. On comparing with the 2018, the number of casualties has been increased. Also, in 2019, the number of casualties has been increased while in manufacturing sector, the fatalities got reduced. This might be due to the fact that manufacturing sector of Australia takes WHS policy and framework as its priority task.
Table 2: Preliminary worker deaths
Preliminary worker deaths in 2018 (in October)
Preliminary worker deaths in 2019 (in October)
(Source: Safe Work Australia, 2019)
Job Role of Workers in Mines
The jobs of the workers in mines generally are depended upon the categories or segments like gas, oil, metal, non-metal and minerals. The basic job or the workers in mines is related to the extraction of a specific metal, coal, iron ore, oil or gas. They work under high-pressure conditions to extract the mines (Smit, et. al., 2016). They also have the responsibility of maintenance of the equipment and also supervision of the mining work.
Factors Resulting in Workplace Casualties in BHP Billiton
There is risk associated with the health and safety of the mining workers and these factors are important to be understood to reduce the level of risks. The factors affecting the health and safety of the mining factors are given below:
From the data analytics part and discussion, various factors have been already determined that contribute to poor workplace safety challenges. It is important to understand that the team decision-making is full of challenges. Members belong to different culture and beliefs. Hence, it is important manage the diversity in the workplace culture. The diversity may be present in terms of experience, ethnicity, gender, and decision-making abilities and preferences. To make policy related to workplace health and safety, it is important to consider the diversity factor in the group decision-making. There are some decision-making theories or models or tools that can help indealing with such issues. Certain recommendations based on Decision-making models are:-
For BHP Billiton, it is important to make use of aforementioned tools while formulating a comprehensive WHS policy. Through intuition based model, it can be able to understand the pattern of the casualties and can predict future possibilities. This would help in future planning for WHS. With the help of bounded rationality model, it can test the policy in a controlled environment and even the newer member can be able to give his thoughts and ideas. With the System one and System two tools, it can be able to analyse two views within a team and test the best one and implement in the policy.
Understanding the use of different decision-making tools in organisation where there is large amount of diversity can help in pacing up the process of decision-making. There are different members in the team and each one has certain role to play. Group dynamics helps in describing the impacts of mutual understanding among the team members and their behaviour with one another. It has been seen that a group with positive environment and high level of trust usually have a collective decision-making (Xiao, et.al, 2016). Hence, the managers and team leads should make effort to create a positive and supporting environment wherein members hold each other responsible for accomplishment of goal. This also promotes innovation in problem-solving process. The better the group dynamic is, better would be the information processing. This would ultimately results in sound decision-making process (Cui, 2016). During the whole exercise, it is realised that strengthening and promoting a socio-technical environment while ensuring the support of members during the execution of tasks can be a great challenge for the team leader but is worth attempting. Talking about the decision-making models employed in the report, all of them are logically sound and can help in resolving the complexities. They are developed based on the intuition and rational (Gardner& Bateman, 2017).
Akinci, C., & Sadler-Smith, E. (2012). Intuition in management research: A historical review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14(1), 104-122. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2370.2011.00313.x
Chen, A., Treviño, L. K., & Humphrey, S. E. (2019). Ethical champions, emotions, framing, and team ethical decision making. Journal of Applied Psychology.
Cui, Z. (2016). Decision making in cross-functional teams: The role of decision power*. Decision Sciences, 47(3), 492-523. doi:10.1111/deci.12188
Dhami, M. K., & Thomson, M. E. (2012). On the relevance of Cognitive Continuum Theory and quasirationality for understanding management judgment and decision making. European Management Journal, 30(4), 316-326.
Eling, K., Griffin, A., &Langerak, F. (2014). Using intuition in fuzzy front-end decision-making: A conceptual framework. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(5), 956-972. doi:10.1111/jpim.12136
Gardner, P., & Bateman, N. A. (2017). An assessment of visual tools for operational team decision making.
Kalkman, J. P., Kerstholt, J. H., &Roelofs, M. (2018). Crisis response team decision‐making as a bureau‐political process. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 26(4), 480-490.
Li, C. R., Liu, Y. Y., Lin, C. J., & Ma, H. J. (2016). Top management team diversity, ambidextrous innovation and the mediating effect of top team decision-making processes. Industry and Innovation, 23(3), 260-275.
Safe Work Australia. (2019). Fatality statistics by industry. Retrieved 7 November 2019, from https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/statistics/fatalities/fatality-statistics-industry
Smit, N. W., De Beer, L. T., &Pienaar, J. (2016). Work stressors, job insecurity, union support, job satisfaction an safety outcomes within the iron ore mining evnironment.
Widanarko, B., Modjo, R., &Rantetampang, J. (2018, August). Risk Factors Associated with Work-Related Fatigue Among Indonesian Mining Workers. In Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (pp. 1029-1037). Springer, Cham.
Xiao, Y., Zhang, H., &Basadur, T. M. (2016). Does information sharing always improve team decision making? An examination of the hidden profile condition in new product development. Journal of Business Research, 69(2), 587-595.
From the complete assessment practice, I have determined the significance of the decision-making in a group and its effectiveness in resolving the organisational challenge. In the very beginning of this work, I had no to little knowledge of how group dynamics work. Diving the work among ourselves based on the area of interest and experience, the work was distributed. Furthermore, I have determined that how the policy making can be carried out in the organisation based on facts and figure. I realised how research works are based on the data collected from various sources. I came to know the right difference between primary and secondary methods of collecting data and their importance in the research. I got to learn about the decision-making models and tools and how they can help the team leaders in managing the diversity within the team. As most of the team members have different background, conflicts are obvious among members. However, with the right decision-making model, these can be avoided in the earlier stage. They can help in establishing an environment that promotes coordination and cooperation among the team members. I got to learn some important aspect of data presentation and interpretation that would be helping me in future. Overall, it was a very good and learning experience for me and I am looking forward to work on similar projects in near future.
The member carried out executive summary, brief, and aim, research questions, and scope, and appendices. He also attended every weekly meeting and responded to all whatsapp queries timely
The member covered the literature review, team introduction, use of data analytics, source of data and rationale for use. He also attended every weekly meeting and responded to all whatsapp queries timely
The member covered the data collection, analysis of data, discussion part. He also attended every weekly meeting and responded to all whatsap queries timely.
Note: All three members together worked on recommendation part and significance of decision-making tools
1. Problem Determination
All the operations and processes in BHP are evaluated to determine any issue related to worker safety.
Each factor contributing to casualties are analysed
The policy should be implemented across the organisation and safety officer should be hired to keep a check on the site conditions and other vulnerable issues
The current safety measures and equipment and guidelines are re-evaluated.
The priorities are set as per the likely impact
The compliance committee should be made that keep a check on the compliance with the WHS policies and standards set by government
Designated Stakeholder’s Responsibility
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