Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents

Routledge
Free sample

Major accidents are rare events due to the many barriers, safeguards and defences developed by modern technologies. But they continue to happen with saddening regularity and their human and financial consequences are all too often unacceptably catastrophic. One of the greatest challenges we face is to develop more effective ways of both understanding and limiting their occurrence. This lucid book presents a set of common principles to further our knowledge of the causes of major accidents in a wide variety of high-technology systems. It also describes tools and techniques for managing the risks of such organizational accidents that go beyond those currently available to system managers and safety professionals. James Reason deals comprehensively with the prevention of major accidents arising from human and organizational causes. He argues that the same general principles and management techniques are appropriate for many different domains. These include banks and insurance companies just as much as nuclear power plants, oil exploration and production companies, chemical process installations and air, sea and rail transport. Its unique combination of principles and practicalities make this seminal book essential reading for all whose daily business is to manage, audit and regulate hazardous technologies of all kinds. It is relevant to those concerned with understanding and controlling human and organizational factors and will also interest academic readers and those working in industrial and government agencies.
Read more

About the author

James Reason is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Manchester, England. He is consultant to numerous organizations throughout the world, sought after as a keynote speaker at international conferences and author of several renowned books including Human Error (CUP, 1990).
Read more

Reviews

Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
Read more
Published on
Jan 29, 2016
Read more
Pages
272
Read more
ISBN
9781134855421
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Technology & Engineering / Civil / Transportation
Technology & Engineering / Industrial Health & Safety
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
James Reason
Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents introduced the notion of an ’organizational accident’. These are rare but often calamitous events that occur in complex technological systems operating in hazardous circumstances. They stand in sharp contrast to ’individual accidents’ whose damaging consequences are limited to relatively few people or assets. Although they share some common causal factors, they mostly have quite different causal pathways. The frequency of individual accidents - usually lost-time injuries - does not predict the likelihood of an organizational accident. The book also elaborated upon the widely-cited Swiss Cheese Model. Organizational Accidents Revisited extends and develops these ideas using a standardized causal analysis of some 10 organizational accidents that have occurred in a variety of domains in the nearly 20 years that have passed since the original was published. These analyses provide the ’raw data’ for the process of drilling down into the underlying causal pathways. Many contributing latent conditions recur in a variety of domains. A number of these - organizational issues, design, procedures and so on - are examined in close detail in order to identify likely problems before they combine to penetrate the defences-in-depth. Where the 1997 book focused largely upon the systemic factors underlying organizational accidents, this complementary follow-up goes beyond this to examine what can be done to improve the ’error wisdom’ and risk awareness of those on the spot; they are often the last line of defence and so have the power to halt the accident trajectory before it can cause damage. The book concludes by advocating that system safety should require the integration of systemic factors (collective mindfulness) with individual mental skills (personal mindfulness).
Sidney Dekker
When faced with a human error problem, you may be tempted to ask 'Why didn't they watch out better? How could they not have noticed?'. You think you can solve your human error problem by telling people to be more careful, by reprimanding the miscreants, by issuing a new rule or procedure. These are all expressions of 'The Bad Apple Theory', where you believe your system is basically safe if it were not for those few unreliable people in it. This old view of human error is increasingly outdated and will lead you nowhere. The new view, in contrast, understands that a human error problem is actually an organizational problem. Finding a 'human error' by any other name, or by any other human, is only the beginning of your journey, not a convenient conclusion. The new view recognizes that systems are inherent trade-offs between safety and other pressures (for example: production). People need to create safety through practice, at all levels of an organization. Breaking new ground beyond its successful predecessor, The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error guides you through the traps and misconceptions of the old view. It explains how to avoid the hindsight bias, to zoom out from the people closest in time and place to the mishap, and resist the temptation of counterfactual reasoning and judgmental language. But it also helps you look forward. It suggests how to apply the new view in building your safety department, handling questions about accountability, and constructing meaningful countermeasures. It even helps you in getting your organization to adopt the new view and improve its learning from failure. So if you are faced by a human error problem, abandon the fallacy of a quick fix. Read this book.
George Fairbanks
This is a practical guide for software developers, and different than other software architecture books. Here's why:

It teaches risk-driven architecting. There is no need for meticulous designs when risks are small, nor any excuse for sloppy designs when risks threaten your success. This book describes a way to do just enough architecture. It avoids the one-size-fits-all process tar pit with advice on how to tune your design effort based on the risks you face.

It democratizes architecture. This book seeks to make architecture relevant to all software developers. Developers need to understand how to use constraints as guiderails that ensure desired outcomes, and how seemingly small changes can affect a system's properties.

It cultivates declarative knowledge. There is a difference between being able to hit a ball and knowing why you are able to hit it, what psychologists refer to as procedural knowledge versus declarative knowledge. This book will make you more aware of what you have been doing and provide names for the concepts.

It emphasizes the engineering. This book focuses on the technical parts of software development and what developers do to ensure the system works not job titles or processes. It shows you how to build models and analyze architectures so that you can make principled design tradeoffs. It describes the techniques software designers use to reason about medium to large sized problems and points out where you can learn specialized techniques in more detail.

It provides practical advice. Software design decisions influence the architecture and vice versa. The approach in this book embraces drill-down/pop-up behavior by describing models that have various levels of abstraction, from architecture to data structure design.
Sidney Dekker
What does the collapse of sub-prime lending have in common with a broken jackscrew in an airliner’s tailplane? Or the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico with the burn-up of Space Shuttle Columbia? These were systems that drifted into failure. While pursuing success in a dynamic, complex environment with limited resources and multiple goal conflicts, a succession of small, everyday decisions eventually produced breakdowns on a massive scale. We have trouble grasping the complexity and normality that gives rise to such large events. We hunt for broken parts, fixable properties, people we can hold accountable. Our analyses of complex system breakdowns remain depressingly linear, depressingly componential - imprisoned in the space of ideas once defined by Newton and Descartes. The growth of complexity in society has outpaced our understanding of how complex systems work and fail. Our technologies have gotten ahead of our theories. We are able to build things - deep-sea oil rigs, jackscrews, collateralized debt obligations - whose properties we understand in isolation. But in competitive, regulated societies, their connections proliferate, their interactions and interdependencies multiply, their complexities mushroom. This book explores complexity theory and systems thinking to understand better how complex systems drift into failure. It studies sensitive dependence on initial conditions, unruly technology, tipping points, diversity - and finds that failure emerges opportunistically, non-randomly, from the very webs of relationships that breed success and that are supposed to protect organizations from disaster. It develops a vocabulary that allows us to harness complexity and find new ways of managing drift.
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.