A model of workplace safety incorporating worker interactions and simple interventions

John Thew, Bopf Tara-Louise, Dann Mallet


Although there was substantial research into the occupational health and safety sector over the past forty years, this generally focused on statistical analyses of data related to costs and/or fatalities and injuries. There is a lack of mathematical modelling of the interactions between workers and the resulting safety dynamics of the workplace. There is also little work investigating the potential impact of different safety intervention programs prior to their implementation. In this article, we present a fundamental, differential equation-based model of workplace safety that treats worker safety habits similarly to an infectious disease in an epidemic model. Analytical results for the model, derived via phase plane and stability analysis, are discussed. The model is coupled with a model of a generic safety strategy aimed at minimising unsafe work habits, to produce an optimal control problem. The optimal control model is solved using the forward-backward sweep numerical scheme implemented in Matlab.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21914/anziamj.v54i0.6565

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