Normal Accidents

Author: Charles Perrow
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 140082849X
Release Date: 2011-10-12
Genre: Technology & Engineering

Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety--building in more warnings and safeguards--fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of accidents. (At Chernobyl, tests of a new safety system helped produce the meltdown and subsequent fire.) By recognizing two dimensions of risk--complex versus linear interactions, and tight versus loose coupling--this book provides a powerful framework for analyzing risks and the organizations that insist we run them. The first edition fulfilled one reviewer's prediction that it "may mark the beginning of accident research." In the new afterword to this edition Perrow reviews the extensive work on the major accidents of the last fifteen years, including Bhopal, Chernobyl, and the Challenger disaster. The new postscript probes what the author considers to be the "quintessential 'Normal Accident'" of our time: the Y2K computer problem.

Normal Accidents

Author: Charles Perrow
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691004129
Release Date: 1984
Genre: HEALTH & FITNESS

Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety--building in more warnings and safeguards--fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of accidents. (At Chernobyl, tests of a new safety system helped produce the meltdown and subsequent fire.) By recognizing two dimensions of risk--complex versus linear interactions, and tight versus loose coupling--this book provides a powerful framework for analyzing risks and the organizations that insist we run them. The first edition fulfilled one reviewer's prediction that it "may mark the beginning of accident research." In the new afterword to this edition Perrow reviews the extensive work on the major accidents of the last fifteen years, including Bhopal, Chernobyl, and the Challenger disaster. The new postscript probes what the author considers to be the "quintessential 'Normal Accident'" of our time: the Y2K computer problem.

Normal accidents

Author: Charles Perrow
Publisher: Basic Books (AZ)
ISBN: UOM:39015036228784
Release Date: 1984
Genre: Health & Fitness

Discusses the pros and cons of high-risk technologies, explains how to reduce the possibilities for catastrophic accidents, and analyzes the causes of specific industrial accidents

The Next Catastrophe

Author: Charles Perrow
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400827590
Release Date: 2008-09-02
Genre: Social Science

Charles Perrow is famous worldwide for his ideas about normal accidents, the notion that multiple and unexpected failures--catastrophes waiting to happen--are built into our society's complex systems. In The Next Catastrophe, he offers crucial insights into how to make us safer, proposing a bold new way of thinking about disaster preparedness. Perrow argues that rather than laying exclusive emphasis on protecting targets, we should reduce their size to minimize damage and diminish their attractiveness to terrorists. He focuses on three causes of disaster--natural, organizational, and deliberate--and shows that our best hope lies in the deconcentration of high-risk populations, corporate power, and critical infrastructures such as electric energy, computer systems, and the chemical and food industries. Perrow reveals how the threat of catastrophe is on the rise, whether from terrorism, natural disasters, or industrial accidents. Along the way, he gives us the first comprehensive history of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security and examines why these agencies are so ill equipped to protect us. The Next Catastrophe is a penetrating reassessment of the very real dangers we face today and what we must do to confront them. Written in a highly accessible style by a renowned systems-behavior expert, this book is essential reading for the twenty-first century. The events of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina--and the devastating human toll they wrought--were only the beginning. When the next big disaster comes, will we be ready?

The Ancient Engineers

Author: L. Sprague de Camp
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Publishing
ISBN: 0880294566
Release Date: 1990
Genre: Philosophy

Describes methods used by early irrigators, architects, and military engineers to build and maintain structures to serve their ruler's wants.

Readings in Risk

Author: Theodore S. Glickman
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781135888657
Release Date: 2013-10-18
Genre: Technology & Engineering

Developed for use as a reference work in graduate and undergraduate courses as well as for researchers, policymakers, and interested laypersons, the book is a unique collection of authoritative yet accessible journal articles about risk. Drawn from a variety of disciplines including the physical and social sciences, engineering, and law, the articles deal with a wide range of public policy, regulatory, management, energy, and environmental issues. The selections are accompanied by introductory notes, questions for thought and discussion, and suggestions for further reading.

Friendly Fire

Author: Scott A. Snook
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400840977
Release Date: 2011-09-19
Genre: Social Science

On April 14, 1994, two U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters accidentally shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawk Helicopters over Northern Iraq, killing all twenty-six peacekeepers onboard. In response to this disaster the complete array of military and civilian investigative and judicial procedures ran their course. After almost two years of investigation with virtually unlimited resources, no culprit emerged, no bad guy showed himself, no smoking gun was found. This book attempts to make sense of this tragedy--a tragedy that on its surface makes no sense at all. With almost twenty years in uniform and a Ph.D. in organizational behavior, Lieutenant Colonel Snook writes from a unique perspective. A victim of friendly fire himself, he develops individual, group, organizational, and cross-level accounts of the accident and applies a rigorous analysis based on behavioral science theory to account for critical links in the causal chain of events. By explaining separate pieces of the puzzle, and analyzing each at a different level, the author removes much of the mystery surrounding the shootdown. Based on a grounded theory analysis, Snook offers a dynamic, cross-level mechanism he calls "practical drift"--the slow, steady uncoupling of practice from written procedure--to complete his explanation. His conclusion is disturbing. This accident happened because, or perhaps in spite of everyone behaving just the way we would expect them to behave, just the way theory would predict. The shootdown was a normal accident in a highly reliable organization.

Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents

Author: James Reason
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781134855353
Release Date: 2016-01-29
Genre: Technology & Engineering

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.

The Limits of Safety

Author: Scott Douglas Sagan
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691021010
Release Date: 1995
Genre: History

Environmental tragedies such as Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez, and Bhopal remind us that catastrophic accidents are always possible in a modern world full of hazardous technologies. Yet, the safety record appears to be extraordinarily good with nuclear weapons, the most dangerous technology of all. This safety record has led scholars, policy-makers, and the public alike to believe that nuclear weapons can serve as a safe and secure deterrent into the foreseeable future in the post-Cold War era. In this provocative and path-breaking book, Scott Sagan challenges such optimistic beliefs. Sagan's painstaking research into formerly classified archives penetrates the veil of safety that has surrounded U.S. nuclear weapons operations. Guided by theories of reliability in complex organizations, Sagan has uncovered a hidden history of frightening "close calls" to disaster: lost nuclear-armed bombers fly into the Russian warning net, Air Force officers tamper with missiles to be able to launch them without orders, B-52 bombers crash with thermonuclear weapons aboard and then vanish from the official histories, an unstable pilot deliberately turns on the two arming switches on his aircraft's nuclear bombs, and false warnings during the Cuban missile crisis lead pilots and radar operators to believe that the United States is under nuclear attack. Incomprehension, political maneuvering, and even cover-ups have limited what we have learned from these dangerous incidents, and Sagan maintains that many hidden bugs in the system remain. While the risk of deliberate nuclear war has been reduced with the end of the Cold War, the risk of serious accidents, even accidental war, remains unacceptably high. The inheritance of nuclear missiles by Soviet successor states, the continuing spread of the bomb to developing nations, and misplaced confidence in the safety of our own arsenal should produce deep concerns. Unless we radically change the posture of our nuclear arsenal, over the long run, when we least expect it, a serious accident will occur. The key factors that scholars believe lead to high organizational reliability - redundant back-up systems, personnel discipline, and trial-and-error learning - have not produced a safe nuclear arsenal. This book therefore challenges our beliefs, not only about nuclear weapons safety, but also about our ability to control the many other hazardous technologies on which modern society is based.

Risk and Culture

Author: Mary Douglas
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520907396
Release Date: 1983-10-27
Genre: Nature

Can we know the risks we face, now or in the future? No, we cannot; but yes, we must act as if we do. Some dangers are unknown; others are known, but not by us because no one person can know everything. Most people cannot be aware of most dangers at most times. Hence, no one can calculate precisely the total risk to be faced. How, then, do people decide which risks to take and which to ignore? On what basis are certain dangers guarded against and others relegated to secondary status? This book explores how we decide what risks to take and which to ignore, both as individuals and as a culture.

The Challenger Launch Decision

Author: Diane Vaughan
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226346960
Release Date: 2016-01-04
Genre: Technology & Engineering

When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skullduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake. Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded through the eyes of the managers and the engineers, Vaughan uncovers an incremental descent into poor judgment, supported by a culture of high-risk technology. She reveals how and why NASA insiders, when repeatedly faced with evidence that something was wrong, normalized the deviance so that it became acceptable to them. In a new preface, Vaughan reveals the ramifications for this book and for her when a similar decision-making process brought down NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003.

Inviting Disaster

Author: James R. Chiles
Publisher: HarperBusiness
ISBN: 0066620821
Release Date: 2002-08-20
Genre: Business & Economics

Combining captivating storytelling with eye-opening findings, Inviting Disaster delves inside some of history's worst catastrophes in order to show how increasingly "smart" systems leave us wide open to human tragedy. Weaving a dramatic narrative that explains how breakdowns in these systems result in such disasters as the chain reaction crash of the Air France Concorde to the meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station, Chiles vividly demonstrates how the battle between man and machine may be escalating beyond manageable limits -- and why we all have a stake in its outcome. Included in this edition is a special introduction providing a behind-the-scenes look at the World Trade Center catastrophe. Combining firsthand accounts of employees' escapes with an in-depth look at the structural reasons behind the towers' collapse, Chiles addresses the question, Were the towers "two tall heroes" or structures with a fatal flaw?

Beyond Aviation Human Factors

Author: Daniel E. Maurino
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781351955690
Release Date: 2017-03-02
Genre: Transportation

The authors believe that a systematic organizational approach to aviation safety must replace the piecemeal approaches largely favoured in the past, but this change needs to be preceded by information to explain why a new approach is necessary. Accident records show a flattening of the safety curve since the early Seventies: instead of new kinds of accident, similar safety deficiencies have become recurrent features in accident reports. This suggests the need to review traditional accident prevention strategies, focused almost exclusively on the action or inaction’s of front-line operational personnel. The organizational model proposed by the authors is one alternative means to pursue safety and prevention strategies in contemporary aviation; it is also applicable to other production systems. The model argues for a broadened approach, which considers the influence of all organizations (the blunt end?) involved in aviation operations, in addition to individual human performance (the sharp end?). If the concepts of systems safety and organizational accidents are to be advanced, aviation management at all levels must be aware of them. This book is intended to provide a bridge from the academic knowledge gained from research, to the needs of practitioners in aviation. It comprises six chapters: the fundamentals, background and justification for an organizational accident causation model to the flight deck, maintenance and air traffic control environments. The last chapter suggest different ways to apply the model as a prevention tool which furthermore enhances organizational effectiveness. The value of the organizational framework pioneered by Professor Reason in analyzing safety in high-technology production systems is felt by his co-authors to have an enduring role to play, both now and in coming decades. Applied now in this book, it has been adopted by ICAO, IFATCA, IMO, the US National Transportation Safety Board, the Transportation Safety B

Safety Culture

Author:
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN: 0754672379
Release Date: 2012
Genre: Technology & Engineering

In Safety Culture: Building and Sustaining a Cultural Change in Aviation and Healthcare, the four authors draw upon their extensive teaching, research and field experience from multiple industries to describe the dynamic nature of a culture-change process, particularly in safety-critical domains. They use a stories to numbers approach that starts with felt experiences and stories of certain change programs that they have documented, then proceed to describe the use of key measurement tools that can be used to analyze the state of a change program. The book concludes with a description of empirical models that illustrate the dynamic nature of change programs.

Perilous Progress

Author: Robert William Kates
Publisher:
ISBN: MINN:31951001263056D
Release Date: 1985-01-01
Genre: Risk