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Current projects

Human Factors & Safety Science

Bushfire CRC Projects

The Operational readiness of volunteer firefighters

Prof. Sally Ferguson, Dr. Bradley Smith

Bushfires are a real and ruthless threat to the lives and livelihoods of individuals living in rural and urban fringe areas. Volunteer and career firefighters charged with managing this annual threat face a number of occupational and environmental stressors. Long hours during both day and night shift, often with reduced sleep opportunities, are common. Across work shifts, firefighters are required to perform intermittent, intense physical labour often in hot and smoky conditions, at the same time making critical decisions in often life-threatening situations. In isolation, factors such as heat, smoke (or its constituent elements), and sleep disruption can have a detrimental impact on cognitive and physical work capacity. To date, however, no study has assessed the combined effect that these multiple stressors have on human performance. Such information is critical for rural fire agencies to manage the health, safety and productivity of personnel during bushfire suppression. Thus, the aim of this research is to investigate the impact of multiple fireground stressors (i.e., sleep disruption, heat and smoke) in isolation and in combination, on firefighters' physiological responses, and physical and cognitive work performance across a simulated three-day bushfire suppression 'tour'.

Organizing for Incident Management

Dr. Chris Bearman, Dr. Christine Owen, Dr. Ben Brooks, Jared Grunwald

Team Failure in emergency incident management coordination in major events has long been recognised in both the national and the international. In large events breakdowns of information flow, and in particular breakdowns in coordination above the IMT are both common and always problematic. The findings from the Royal Commission indicate a need to look beyond creating new standard operating procedures or adding to existing role responsibilities. They indicate that, despite the good work that has occurred in the past to build a robust inter-service incident management system, in overwhelming events communication and coordination breaks down and fractures. This project is seeking to better understand how multi-agency emergency management coordination above the IMT level can be improved in order to reduce the consequences to communities of the emergency event. The research questions What are the existing and best practices for Incident Management coordination? How does information flow to and from the Incident Controller (IMT) influence the controllers capacity to develop suitable alternative plans to adjust to emerging conditions? How has a lack of shared mental models by key personnel in emergency incident management led to breakdowns in coordination in previous incidents? How might we best train and educate personnel in the most effective emergency management coordination above the IMT? What social networks of communication best facilitate effective multi-agency coordination? What changes are needed to support effective command and control and multi-agency coordination.Visit the main Bushfire CRC website athttp://www.bushfirecrc.com.au

CRC for Rail Innovation Projects

With a $100m research program over seven years and just under 100 projects underway, the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Rail Innovation is set to bring enormous benefits to Australia's rail industry, conducting industry-led research and delivering practical solutions for our rail industry participants. The CRC includes numerous industry and university participants from across Australia. The Centre for Sleep Research is currently involved in a number of projects:

Route Knowledge Acquisition

Dr. Anjum Naweed, Ganesh Balakrishnan, Dr. Chris Bearman, Prof. Drew Dawson

This project aims to better understand how train drivers acquire and encode their route knowledge, with a view towards developing a more informed model of how it is internally represented. Most train driver training programs develop route knowledge by physically exposing trainees to the route. However, there is likely to be a great deal of redundancy in this approach since many sections of a given route may provide very limited learning opportunities. To address this issue, this project also aims to explore the feasibility of a training program that enhances the way simulator scenarios may be used to optimize driving competencies.

Capturing Driving Strategies

Dr. Anjum Naweed, Ganesh Balakrishnan, Dr. Chris Bearman, Prof. Drew Dawson

This project is aiming to develop a detailed understanding of how train drivers acquire different driving strategies. Train driver training programs utilize a mixture of different learning techniques to achieve competency, including classroom theory and simulator sessions. The main proponent however is 'on the job' type of training, largely in the form of cab rides under expert guidance. In order to explore the value of exposure to different levels of expertise, the project seeks to identify the strategies and techniques that experienced drivers' use, together with some of the problems and pitfalls to be avoided. Hence, this project attempts to comprise a detailed knowledgebase, and capture the knowledge of experienced drivers before it is lost.

Analytic Tools for Human Factors Evaluation of New In-Cab and Train Control Technologies

Dr. Chris Bearman, Dr. Kirrilly Thompson, Dr. Jill Dorrian, Dr. Anjum Naweed, Jan Rose

Rapid advancements in train control and in-cab technologies provide opportunities for rail operators to improve efficiency and enhance operations. However, new technologies are a significant form of risk. New technologies often provide elegant new solutions to problems or provide new capabilities for the operator but they frequently neglect human factors issues. Neglect of human factors issues can mean that new technologies have unintended consequences leading to either rejection by users or to situations where the job is made more difficult rather than easier. Some recent examples of new technologies having such issues in the rail industry are: Locomotive refurbishments that have made the drivers job more difficult, ATP technologies that leave drivers frustrated by the lack of correspondence with their skills, and a fuel saving technology that was rejected by drivers because it did not anticipate or appropriately support their decision making. Currently, the Australian rail industry lacks a standardised approach to the human factors evaluation of new technologies in operational settings. This project seeks to fill that gap by developing a set of human factors methods that human factors specialists can use to evaluate new technologies before they are rolled-out.

References

Bearman, C., Rose, J., Naweed, A., & Dorrian, J., (Eds., forthcoming). A Practical Guide to Evaluating the Human Factors Issues of New Rail Technologies. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

Rose, J., & Bearman, C. (in press). Making Effective Use of Task Analysis to Identify Human Factors Issues in New Rail Technology. Applied Ergonomics.

Development of a National Rail Safety Management Program

Dr. Chris Bearman

In order to effectively meet the challenges of improving Australia's rail safety record in a complex climate of advancing technology, increasingly rapid turnover of staff, and increased competition, significant investment in advanced safety training is necessary. A recent report prepared for the Australasian Railway Association (Hawke, 2008) mapped out the key competencies required by a rail safety manager and identified gaps in the current provision of training for rail safety managers. This project responds to the identified need through the development of a dedicated post-graduate coursework program in Rail Safety Management.

The project will develop a standardised and comprehensive safety management curriculum that will be developed in close conjunction with industry and university partners. It will take the form of a postgraduate level program in Safety Management.It is expected that once the program is established, the industry will provide 20 participants in the program per year. Greater industry safety management awareness will add to productivity and safety, and enable industry personnel to make a more effective evaluation of the risk of current and future operations.

Safety Case for Driver Only Operations

Dr. Anjum Naweed, Dr. Jill Dorrian

Currently, two driver operations are the most common way to operate freight and coal trains in most parts of Australia. However, (Driver Only Operations; DOO) are becoming more frequent. Moving from the traditional "two-up" driver system to DOO may result in increases in single driver workload as well as changes in likelihood of error and the types of errors made. The aim of the proposed research program is to examine the decision-making, error profile and performance of single-driver operations compared to two-driver operations. Specifically, this study will examine the circumstances under which DOO operations are likely to be appropriate (i.e. depending on safeworking system, track characteristics, train consist etc.). Indeed, there may be conditions where DOO may represent a safety improvement relative to dual driver operations. The proposed project will involve a mixed-methods approach, consisting of three complimentary phases:

  1. Focus groups will be conducted to explore the factors that drivers feel may be related to safe operation of the train in single and dual driver systems;
  2. A series of in-cab observations of "two-up" and DOO operations will be conducted to evaluate driver workload and error tolerance; and
  3. Informed by Phases 1 and 2, scenarios will be developed and tested in the simulator to compare "two-up" and DOO.

Systematic examination of the differences between "two-up" and DOO in rail will allow informed implementation of DOO, which is already an increasing trend in the Australian rail Industry. In particular, understanding of the differences in workload for the single driver, and overall error tolerance of the system is critical for safe implementation of DOO. This research will generate evidence-based guidelines for a standard national safety case for single driver operations in Australia.

Second Generation FRMS

Prof. Sally Ferguson

A Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) is a requirement for all rail operators in Australia. Traditional approaches to managing fatigue in the workplace have been prescriptive - such as regulating hours, breaks and time off duty. These measures typically take little or no account of the physiological determinants of fatigue. An alternative is to use a risk management approach to manage fatigue. FRMS are being implicated across a range of industries in Australia and internationally (e.g. aviation, mining and healthcare).The project aims to develop a framework for a flexible risk-based national standard for fatigue management for the rail industry.

This project is being progressed in conjunction with project R2.110 (Next Generation Fatigue Models). The combined outcomes of these projects will be a framework for the use of work-related fatigue models such as FAID or other tools within a systematically implemented FRMS. The benefits to end-users will be

  • a standardised approach to fatigue risk management based on current scientific knowledge and best practice,
  • a set of practical tools and strategies to be used in the development of individual FRMS,
  • standardised guidelines for the use of pre-existing fatigue management tools such as FAID, and
  • a set of standardised key performance indicators against which rail operators and regulators can assess the performance of a rail organisation's FRMS.

Next Generation Fatigue Models

Prof. Sally Ferguson, Dr. David Darwent, Dr. Jessica Paterson, Dr. Larissa Clarkson

Fatigue models are increasingly used by rail operators and regulators to manage and regulate work-related fatigue in Australia and overseas. In Australia, fatigue models were initially introduced in the early part of this decade as a decision support tool used in the design and evaluation of rosters for freight drivers. More recently, the use of these models by rail operators and regulators has been extended to include many other groups of rail workers. The original data sets underpinning the fatigue modelling software were derived from a relatively narrow selection of freight rail drivers and did not include the diversity of work groups now defined as Rail Safety Workers and increasingly managed using fatigue modelling software packages.

The project aims to improve the reliability and validity of the data used to inform fatigue models. The combined outcomes of this and related projects will be work-related fatigue models that are representative of the different workgroups for which these tools are being used and reflect the current state-of-the-art for fatigue modelling. The benefits to end-users will be work-related fatigue modelling tools that are representative of the different social/domestic profiles of different workgroups within the industry, and have the capacity to inform the likelihood that a given shift falls within a specified fatigue score.

SPAD Management and Risk Mitigation

Dr. Anjum Naweed, Associate Professor Verna Blewett, Dr. Kirrilly Thompson, Prof. Drew Dawson

This project will undertake scoping and industry consultation to determine how signal passed at danger (SPAD) events are currently managed and mitigated in Australian rail operations. A SPAD event describes a situation where the safe working of the driver-train system has broken down to represent a high-risk failure mode in railway operations. Whilst SPAD risk is somewhat mitigated by the use of very specific onboard train protection and trackside equipment, Australia's industry-wide differences in rail operations and piece-meal implementation of these devices prohibits the feasibility of an interoperable engineering solution. As a fundamental human error of omission or commission in the train driving task, the nature of SPAD events advocate the use of a human factors-based approach to identify the underlying issues substantive to the problem. The aim of this initial scoping and consultation project is to establish how SPAD risk is currently being mitigated in different rail contexts with a view to exploring these strategies and evaluating the efficacy of further research.

This project will apply a novel suite of qualitative methods to determine how signal passed at danger (SPAD) events are currently being mitigated in the Australian railway industry. A SPAD event describes a situation where the safe working of the driver-train co-agency has broken down to represent a mode of high-risk failure. SPAD risk is somewhat mitigated by the use of very specific on-board train protection and trackside equipment, but as an error of omission or commission in the driving task itself, the nature of the event advocates the use of a human factors-based approach to identify the underlying issues substantive to the problem. It is anticipated that the data will reveal highly effective albeit 'unpublished' driving strategies, which may be analysed and compiled to fill the gap in the existing knowledgebase. 

RLX Interventions Framework

Dr. Anjum Naweed, Prof. Drew Dawson

This project's key objective is to identify an optimum intervention framework for managing safety at railway level crossings (RLXs). The Australian rail industry currently applies upgrades to level crossings incrementally, according to rankings informed by a safety-risk assessment model. Improvements and upgrades are subsequently implemented using a combination of active and passive countermeasures that render them fail-to-safe, but given the sheer number of crossings across Australia, upgrading them in this manner is very costly and time consuming. This project seeks to explore these issues and offer legal clarification on the political risk substantive to various interventions frameworks.

Keeping Rail on Track: Development of a Best Practice Model for Safety Culture in the Australian Rail Industry

Associate Professor Verna Blewett, Dr. Sophia Rainbird, Dr. Jill Dorrian, Dr. Jessica Paterson

Safety culture has been discussed in the literature for the last 30 years as the feature of organisations that directly influences safety and health at work. Safety culture is believed to be particularly important for high-risk industries and industries that require high reliability to function safely, like the Australian Rail Industry. Frameworks for action to improve organisational culture, and in particular, safety culture, have been developed in other industries, most notably in mining and quarrying in Australia. The Digging Deeper project (Shaw, Blewett et al 2007) provided an evidentiary base for best practice principles in its 10 Platinum Rules and may have applicability in this industry. They provide a starting block in the development of the Best Practice Safety Culture Model for the rail industry.

The broad objectives of this project are:

  • To build a Best Practice for Safety Culture Model in the Australian Rail Industry.
  • To test the ability of the UK RSSB Safety Culture Survey as an instrument that is able to indicate progression towards Best Practice Safety Culture.
  • Test the 10 Platinum Rules from the Digging Deeper project (Shaw, Blewett et al 2008) as a framework for action towards Best Practice Safety Culture.
  • To identify possible improvements in the RSSB Safety Culture Survey that better enable its use as an assessment of Best Practice Safety Culture in the Australian context.
  • To identify what organisations can do in response to identified gaps in Safety Culture, that is, how they can address the gaps.

This project is being undertaken with a multi-method approach – a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods with a participatory design phase using the Future Inquiry Workshop (Blewett and Shaw 2008) to develop interventions for improvement in the three participating rail organisations. 

References

Shaw, A, Blewett, VL, Stiller, L, Cox, S, Ferguson, S Frick, K and Aickin, C. (2007) Digging Deeper: Wran Consultancy Project.Report on a research project commissioned by the NSW Mines Safety Advisory Council. Two volumes.

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/minerals/safety/consultation/digging-deeper

Blewett, V. and Shaw, A. (2008) Future Inquiry: Participatory ergonomics at work. Proceedings of the Nordic Ergonomics Society Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 11-13 August, 2008. 

Visit the main CRC for Rail Innovation website at: http://www.railcrc.net.au.

Partnering for OHS: An evaluation of the Partnerships Program

Associate Professor Verna Blewett, Dr. Jill Dorrian

This project was originally established to evaluate the first round of the South Australian Government's three-year Health and Safety Workplace Partnership Program (2007 – 2010) (hereafter called the Partnership Program), which aimed to increase the number of health and safety representative (HSRs) in Priority Industries in order to better manage the Priority Risks and improve occupational health, safety and welfare (OHSW) in South Australia. The Program established a grants scheme to enable employee associations (unions) to assist in achieving the goals of the Program. The secondary goal of the research was to update our knowledge about worker participation in OHS in South Australia following the Working Together research that was conducted in 2001 (Blewett, 2001). In order to investigate these two areas we developed an instrument to enable investigation of worker participation in OHS. This research was funded by SafeWork SA under the Small Grant Scheme. Since the commencement of the research Safe Work Australia has initiated the harmonisation of work health and safety regulation in Australia and is interested in obtaining baseline data about HSRs prior to the enactment of national legislation in 2012. Safe Work Australia has supplemented the funding of this project to enable the research to be extended to incorporate their needs. These were to include some questions in the survey about notifiable incidents, and to extend the survey to workers as well as HSRs and managers/OHS professionals. Since the initial funding of this research project the first round of the Partnership Program has been completed, the decision to re-fund it has been taken, calls for participation in the next round were made and projects selected. In the meantime, too, the regulatory landscape for OHS is changing. 

References

Blewett, V.L. (2001) Working together: A review of the effectiveness of the health and safety representative and workplace health and safety committee system in South Australia. Adelaide: WorkCover Corporation.

Examining the Subtle Pressures That Can Lead to Poor Decision Making by Pilots Flying Remote Operations in Australia

Dr. Chris Bearman

Australia has a large number of pilots who fly passenger-carrying operations in remote areas. Encompassing RPT, Charter and GA operations, these remote operations can comprise flying industry personnel to outlying sites (such as mines and oil and gas installations) and flying tourist around sites of outstanding natural beauty. Remote operations in Australia can be challenging because they cover large areas of wilderness, have minimal supporting infrastructure, and often operate in extreme weather and dusty conditions. In addition, operators often have to vie for work in a cut-throat industry and employ young pilots who must compete for jobs in order to build flight time (Jones, 2003). Remote pilots may also be more prone to hold negative safety attitudes, such as the "Bush Pilot Mentality" (an attitude where the pilot considers themself to be brave and able to complete any mission regardless of the difficulty). Despite the difficulties of flying these types of passenger-carrying operations there has been little or no research into pilots flying remote operations in Australia. Previous research by NASA into pilots flying remote operations in Alaska, USA (Bearman, Paletz and Orasanu, 2007; 2008; Paletz, Bearman, Orasanu & Holbrook, in preparation) has identified a number of pressures that can lead pilots into making poor decisions. These pressures have been categorized as social psychological, situational and organizational. The proposed project will examine a range of passenger-carrying operations (such as off-shore oil platform transport, tourist flights, mine-site transportation) in remote parts of Australia to determine the nature of the pressures that can lead to poor decisions. The study will be based on two surveys and 40 critical decision interviews (where the pilot describes incidents that challenged his/her abilities) and will employ a coding scheme developed from Bearman et al.'s work. The results of this study will be used to develop 1) a paper-based risk assessment tool that can assist the pilot in making decisions about individual flights and 2) the core content for a training course for pilots in the subtle pressures that can lead to poor decisions while flying remote operations. 

Investigations into the effects of the cognitive processes of explanation and evaluation

Dr. Chris Bearman

This research consists of an ongoing set of investigation into the cognitive processes of explanation and evaluation and the effects that these processes have on the retrieval of prior information. Four experiments have been conducted to date that have explored effects on analogical transfer of evaluating solutions to base problems. In contrast to reports of positive effects of explanation, evaluation consistently reduced transfer rates and impaired mental representations of base material. This effect was not ameliorated by encoding for a later memory test, summarising, or engaging in similar processes at encoding and recall. However, providing a prior explanation task removed the inhibitory effect of evaluation. It appears that evaluation leads to encoding of extraneous material that interferes with access to solution-critical analogous information. Prior explanation inoculates against negative effects on transfer by ensuring that new information introduced via evaluation is organised around existing representations of relevant information of the base problem. The results suggest that the source of difficulty in analogical transfer may reside not only in retrieval and mapping but also in the initial encoding of problems.

References

Bearman C, Ormerod TC, Ball LJ & Deptula D. Explaining away the negative effects of evaluation on analogical transfer: The perils of premature evaluation.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology , 2011; 64: 942-958.


Sleep & Circadian Physiology

The relative impacts of sleep, wake and the internal body clock on human performance

A/Prof Greg Roach, Prof. Sally Ferguson, Prof. David Kennaway

We have developed and tested a brand new experimental protocol that will allow us, for the first time ever, to determine the relative influences of two important physiological systems - sleep/wake and body clock - on human performance. This is a very important issue because people who do shiftwork - irregular shifts, long hours, night work - are constantly dealing with disruptions to to their sleep patterns and their body clocks. Both types of disruption impair our ability to function effectively and increase the risk of accidents and errors in the workplace. This project could result in safer work schedules in safety-critical industries (e.g. aviation, healthcare, emergency services, road transport).

The 24-hour society presents a number of challenges to the shiftworker. First, shiftworkers have to maintain a balance between the competing needs of work, family, leisure and social life. Second, shiftwork has been identified as a risk factor for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Third, shiftworkers have an increased risk of injury and death at work. This project will use an innovative research protocol to provide critical information about the independent and combined effects of sleep loss and body clock disruption on human performance. Work schedules designed on the basis of a better understanding of sleep loss and circadian disruption will result in healthier employees, safer workplaces and reduced costs to the community.

Sleeping for gold: The influence of sleep on the sports performance of elite athletes

A/Prof. Greg Roach, Dr. Charli Sargent, Prof. Drew Dawson

We have good understanding of the importance of sleep for peeople in the general population. We know how much sleep they need, what happens if they dont get enough sleep, and how work schedules affect their sleep patterns. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of elite athletes. For the first time, we will determine how much sleep elite athletes typically obtain, how sleep affects their sports performance and how sleep is affected by training load. This information will be used to design education packages and training schedules for Australian athletes in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. In turn, these athletes will help spread a healthy sleep message to the general population, particularly for Australian children.

The aim of this project is to improve the performance of Australias elite athletes by enhancing the amount and quality of sleep that they obtain. This project has three major benefits. Firstly, successful role models will encourage more Australian children and adults to participate in sport. This is critical given that the incidence of obesity (a major risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer) has doubled in Australia in the last 15 years as participation in sport has dropped. Second, the success of our elite athletes will provide a source of pride in our achievements as a nation. Thirdly, this research will enable the Australian Institute of Sport to remain as an international leader in sports science research.

Visit the Australian Institute of Sport website at: http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais.

Sleep education: Investigating sleep habits in students in rural and remote schools

A/Prof. Sarah Blunden, Prof. Tim Olds, Dr. Carol Maher, Dr. James Dollman

The Australian Government and the South Australian Health Department have funded Dr. Sarah Blunden and a team of researchers from the University of South Australia to conduct a randomized control trial in 12 South Australian schools in 2011 and 2012. The funding totals $249,000 over three years. We have already delivered the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep (ACES) program to over 100 middle school students with another 140 to be targeted by the end of 2012. This is the first trial of its size in Australia. We are testing to see if the delivery of sleep education in a comprehensive format in schools, as part of their school curriculum can change sleep habits (sleep hygiene, sleep duration), and also if it improves secondary outcomes such as attention span, quality of life and general wellbeing, mood, physical activity levels and media usage. 

Investigating sleep habits in students in rural and remote schools

Sleep habits in young people can alter significantly between metropolitan and rural and remote areas. This is due to factors such as an increased amount of shift working families (e.g. due to mining), and the difficulty if getting kids to bed at a reasonable hour when parents in rural communities attend school and sport club committee meetings and there is a lack of child care or family support. Additionally, in some rural and central Australian places, the heat in summer is so great that late night activity, in the cooler hours, is more common than on the city. How does this effect children's sleep and their daytime functioning.

To understand this more clearly, Dr. Sarah Blunden is engaging rural and remote communities in research and evaluation activities. This has begun in Coober Pedy, SA but data is yet to be analysed. In addition, Dr. Sarah Blunden has been invited to be part of the "Scientist in Schools" program with the School of the Air in South Australia, to engage with and guide remote children increase their understanding of sleep, sleep research, sleep science and sleep health.

The ACES sleep education program for junior schools has been adapted and remodeled as an smaller online program as part of the Philips SimplyHealthy@schools program. The aim of this program is to make available sleep education information FREE around the world to any school group who wishes to increase their knowledge of sleep.

Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project

Zeroing in on Food Waste: Measuring, understanding and reducing food waste

Dr. Kirrilly Thompson, Prof. Drew Dawson, Dr. John Boland, Prof. John Coveney, Prof. Paul Ward, Dr. Anne Sharp (UniSA)

Australians waste nearly 50% of the food they buy, producing over 3 million tonnes of garbage worth more than $5b and increasing our carbon footprint through transport costs and green house gases from decomposition.  Despite this significant wastage, reducing food waste has proved difficult because the reasons for over purchasing are not rational; they have strong emotional and cultural determinants. Changing this behaviour requires understanding food purchase, preparation, recycling and disposal as socio-cultural as well as economically determined behaviour.

This three-year project is a collaboration between UniSA, Flinders University, the Local Government Association of SA and Zero Waste SA. This project will embed an anthropologist within South Australian homes to understand why people waste food and enable the development of effective interventions to reduce this waste.  The anthropological investigation will then be followed up by the economic, environmental and psychological modelling and explication food wastage in South Australia.

Visit the ARC Food Waste Project website here.

Animal Behaviour & Human Animal Interaction

Identifying discourses around the effect of animals on human behaviour in natural disasters: Implications for safe evacuation of humans, livestock and companion animals

Dr. Kirrilly Thompson, Dr. Danielle Every, Dr. Clemence Due

Pet owners are less likely to evacuate during natural disasters than non-owners. More than 80 percent of animal owners would risk their lives to save their animals. This study uses a discourse analysis to understand perceptions of risk and safety in relation to animals in natural disasters. It will identify the barriers and enablers to safe evacuation of animals and owners in natural disasters. This research will provide a basis for further empirical work in the area and contribute to the development of a national framework for animal evacuation in Australia.

Australian Horses Owners & Climate Change

Melissa Rebbeck, Julie Fiedler, Dr. Kirrilly Thompson, Chris Riley

Funded by RIRDC. 2011-2012

Agriculture is often cited as being the industry sector to be hardest hit by climate change due to its reliance on natural resources and vulnerability to climate and weather. Horse keepers and those who manage land for horse racing, recreation, breeding or sports are no exception. This project will review the potential impacts of climate change on the Australian horse industry & community. It will consult the literature and stakeholders, consider current knowledge and future directions for research.

The project involves preparation, delivery and reporting on a one day workshop designed to engage horse owners in issues & topics around climate change. To achieve this, the project will be oriented around the following four stages:

1.      A desktop literature review on issues, topics and opportunities around climate change for horse keepers
2.      A survey of horse keepers to identify current attitudes and knowledge in relation to climate change
3.      A facilitated one day horse industry workshop to;

  • Engage horse keepers & organisations in climate change
  • Present to horse keepers an overview of known climate change data & research.
  • Identify gaps in knowledge
  • Record issues & threats as determined by the representatives
  • Provide opportunity for future collaborative research projects to be established
  • Identify & prioritise desired research directions.

4.      Establish an interactive blog in order that "champions" of climate change & horse keeping can share information and it may facilitate future research collaborations or investment. The blog will serve to informally validate the workshop findings.