Barriers and Accident Prevention  book cover
1st Edition

Barriers and Accident Prevention

ISBN 9781138247352
Published September 6, 2016 by Routledge
242 Pages

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Book Description

Accidents are preventable, but only if they are correctly described and understood. Since the mid-1980s accidents have come to be seen as the consequence of complex interactions rather than simple threads of causes and effects. Yet progress in accident models has not been matched by advances in methods. The author's work in several fields (aviation, power production, traffic safety, healthcare) made it clear that there is a practical need for constructive methods and this book presents the experiences and the state-of-the-art. The focus of the book is on accident prevention rather than accident analysis and unlike other books, has a proactive rather than reactive approach. The emphasis on design rather than analysis is a trend also found in other fields. Features of the book include: -A classification of barrier functions and barrier systems that will enable the reader to appreciate the diversity of barriers and to make informed decisions for system changes. -A perspective on how the understanding of accidents (the accident model) largely determines how the analysis is done and what can be achieved. The book critically assesses three types of accident models (sequential, epidemiological, systemic) and compares their strengths and weaknesses. -A specific accident model that captures the full complexity of systemic accidents. One consequence is that accidents can be prevented through a combination of performance monitoring and barrier functions, rather than through the elimination or encapsulation of causes. -A clearly described methodology for barrier analysis and accident prevention. Written in an accessible style, Barriers and Accident Prevention is designed to provide a stimulating and practical guide for industry professionals familiar with the general ideas of accidents and human error. The book is directed at those involved with accident analysis and system safety, such as managers of safety departments, risk and safety consultants, human factors professionals, and accident investigators. It is applicable to all major application areas such as aviation, ground transportation, maritime, process industries, healthcare and hospitals, communication systems, and service providers.

Table of Contents

Contents: Accidents and causes; Thinking about accidents; Barrier functions and barrier systems; Understanding the role of barriers in accidents; A systemic accident model; Accident prevention; Bibliography; Author index; Subject Index.

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Erik Hollnagel has been Full Professor of Human-Machine Interaction at Linköping University (S), since 1999. Previously Principal Advisor, OECD Halden Reactor Project, Norway (1995-1999); Technical Director, HRA Ltd., UK (1993-1995); Senior researcher, Department Manager, and later Principal Scientist, Computer Resources International, Denmark (1985-1993). In addition to Coping with Computers in the Cockpit edited with Sidney Dekker, he has written two books on reliability and accidents: Human reliability analysis, Academic Press, 1993; Cognitive Reliability and Error Analysis Method, 1998 and Cognitive Task Design, 2003. He has worked closely with the patient safety programmes in Sweden, training doctors and nurses in risk assessment.


’Every twenty years or so, a book comes along that profoundly influences the way we think about the breakdown of complex systems. Charles Perrow's Normal Accidents (1984) was one; this book will be another. Beautifully written, immensely scholarly and rich in illustrations, it both challenges the received wisdom about accident aetiology and (unlike Perrow) offers a viable way forward. This book establishes Erik Hollnagel as the leading thinker in this field.’ Professor James Reason, University of Manchester, UK 'This important, thought-provoking book should be required reading for accident prevention professionals and anyone concerned with enhancing system safety. The discussion of barriers, and the strengths and weaknesses of three types of accident models - accented by easy to understand diagrams and tables - provides background for the insightful description of the complexities of the increasingly significant systemic model and its proactive implications for designing systems for accident prevention.' Marilyn Sue Bogner, Ph.D., Institute for the Study of Human Error, Bethesda, USA '... the contents are up to the expected high standard of this prolific publishing house.' The ROSPA Occupational Safety & Health Journal 'This work is aimed at those at the top of the safety management profession. It should be required reading for those who find themselves in the position of the Conan Doyle character quoted by the author - "I've got my facts pretty clear ... all I want now is to get to know what they all mean." ' Health and Safety at Work, October 2005 'This is an extremely well-written and convincing book that will fundamentally challenge the views of many readers and should engage and stimulate all readers. Interesting and often lesser-known case studies and accounts are provided throughout to illustrate the points made and practical approaches are outlined to respond to Hollnagel's fundamental criticisms of the status quo. As must be expected, thi