ISE student won Merit Award in FOE’s 26th Innovation and Research Award
Under the encouragement of her supervisor Associate Professor Aaron Chia, Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Year 4 undergraduate Chua Xin Qian submitted her Final Year Project for consideration and was honoured to be selected for the Merit Achievement Award.
The project, titled “The Systems Dynamics of Workplace Safety”, examined the workplace safety climate in Singapore and measures to reduce the number of accidents. As with many human related issues, there is no single cause that determines an outcome and often a myriad of causes and their relationships could result in unforeseeable consequences.
Using system dynamics, Xin Qian studied the underlying causes of these accidents and investigated ways to prevent accidents from occurring in the workplace. The systems thinking framework learnt in ISE allowed her to gain a holistic understanding of the fundamental issues of workplace safety and how the interactions between these root causes could eventually lead to unintended consequences.
One of challenges she faced was the intangible nature of some of the root causes, for example, the culture in the workplace and the workers’ perception of the safety situation. Hence, she worked closely with the Ministry of Manpower to seek professional advice on these aspects and also consulted with Professor Chia regularly.
Through this research, Xin Qian acquired a deeper appreciation that real life systems and process are rarely simple input-output models, as changing a single factor could result in many higher order implications that we are often blinded to. Hence, she intends to apply the system dynamics and systems thinking concepts in her future career in the Ministry of Home Affairs, to analyse government policies and operational studies.
Lastly, winning the award was really a surprise bonus for her as no ISE student has been given the IRA in the recent years. She would like to sincerely thank her supervisor, Professor Chia, for initiating this project and his tireless guidance through the entire research process.