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This succinct but absorbing book covers the main way stations on James Reason’s 40-year journey in pursuit of the nature and varieties of human error. He presents an engrossing and very personal perspective, offering the reader exceptional insights, wisdom and wit as only James Reason can. A Life in Error charts the development of his seminal and hugely influential work from its original focus on individual cognitive psychology through the broadening of scope to embrace social, organizational and systemic issues.
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.
This book analyses and explains the principles behind Safety-I and Safety-II and approaches and considers the past and future of safety management practices. The analysis makes use of common examples and cases from domains such as aviation, nuclear power production, process management and health care. The final chapters explain the theoretical and practical consequences of the new, Safety-II perspective on day-to-day operations as well as on strategic management (safety culture).
The Human Contribution is vital reading for all professionals in high-consequence environments and for managers of any complex system. The book draws its illustrative material from a wide variety of hazardous domains, with the emphasis on healthcare reflecting the author's focus on patient safety over the last decade. All students of human factors - however seasoned - will also find it an invaluable and thought-provoking read.
Building on the success of the 2007 original, Dekker revises, enhances and expands his view of just culture for this second edition, additionally tackling the key issue of how justice is created inside organizations. The goal remains the same: to create an environment where learning and accountability are fairly and constructively balanced. The First Edition of Sidney Dekker’s Just Culture brought accident accountability and criminalization to a broader audience. It made people question, perhaps for the first time, the nature of personal culpability when organizational accidents occur. Having raised this awareness the author then discovered that while many organizations saw the fairness and value of creating a just culture they really struggled when it came to developing it: What should they do? How should they and their managers respond to incidents, errors, failures that happen on their watch? In this Second Edition, Dekker expands his view of just culture, additionally tackling the key issue of how justice is created inside organizations. The new book is structured quite differently. Chapter One asks, ‘what is the right thing to do?’ - the basic moral question underpinning the issue. Ensuing chapters demonstrate how determining the ‘right thing’ really depends on one’s viewpoint, and that there is not one ‘true story’ but several. This naturally leads into the key issue of how justice is established inside organizations and the practical efforts needed to sustain it. The following chapters place just culture and criminalization in a societal context. Finally, the author reflects upon why we tend to blame individual people for systemic failures when in fact we bear collective responsibility. The changes to the text allow the author to explain the core elements of a just culture which he delineated so successfully in the First Edition and to explain how his original ideas have evolved. Dekker also introduces new material on ethics and on caring for the’ second victim’ (the professional at the centre of the incident). Consequently, we have a natural evolution of the author’s ideas. Those familiar with the earlier book and those for whom a just culture is still an aspiration will find much wisdom and practical advice here.
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.
Provides a clear road map to instilling a culture of safety excellence in any organization Did you know that accidental injury is among the top ten leading causes of death in every age group? With this book as your guide, you'll learn how to help your organization develop, implement, and sustain Safety Culture Excellence, vital for the protection of and improvement in the quality of life for everyone who works there. STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence is based on the authors' firsthand experience working with international organizations in every major industry that have successfully developed and implemented ongoing cultures of safety excellence. Whether your organization is a small regional firm or a large multinational corporation, you'll find that the STEPS process enables you to instill Safety Culture Excellence within your organization. STEPS (Strategic Targets for Excellent Performance in Safety) demystifies the process of developing Safety Culture Excellence by breaking it down into small logical, internally led tasks. You'll be guided through a sequence of STEPS that makes it possible to: Create a culture of excellence that is reinforced and empowered at every level Develop the capability within the culture to identify, prioritize, and solve safety problems and challenges Maintain and continuously improve the performance of your organization's safety culture Although this book is dedicated to safety, the tested and proven STEPS process can be used to promote excellence in any aspect of organizational performance. By optimizing the safety culture in your organization, you will give the people you work with the skills and knowledge to not only minimize the risk of an on-the-job accident, but also to lead safe, healthy lives outside of work.

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