New technologies of coal production have improved machine reliability but increased technical complexity. More man shifts are now devoted to maintenance than to coalface production, so maintainability is crucial. The reorganisation of craft work, to increase labour flexibility and reduce workers′ autonomy, reveals a fundamental conflict between the production objectives of the new systems and human factors. The full productive potential of computerised systems is not being realised because of random breakdowns. The new technology has been designed to circumvent the skills and knowledge of the workforce, but its success depends on harnessing these skills. A system designed to enhance maintenance workers′ skills would avoid these contradictions, raise productivity and improve the working environment.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management
|Published - 1 Feb 1991