Post Normal Accident : Revisiting Perrow’s Classic book cover
1st Edition

Post Normal Accident
Revisiting Perrow’s Classic

ISBN 9780367502287
Published July 7, 2020 by CRC Press
186 Pages 15 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Post Normal Accident revisits Perrow’s classic Normal Accident published in 1984 and provides additional insights to our sociological view of safety-critical organisations. The operating landscape of high-risk systems has indeed profoundly changed in the past 20 to 30 years but the core sociological models of safety remain associated with classics of the 1980s and 1990s.

This book examines the conceptual and empirical evolutions of the past two to three decades to explore their implications for safety management based on several strands of works in various research traditions in safety (e.g. cognitive engineering and system safety, high-reliability organisation, sociology of safety, regulatory studies) and other interdisciplinary fields (e.g. international business, globalisation studies, strategy management, ecology).

It offers a new and insightful interpretation to the challenges of today. It investigates how globalisation has reconfigured the operating landscape of high-risk systems and emphasises the importance of thinking safety through a strategic angle. This book serves as an ideal resource for the safety professionals and safety researchers from any established disciplines such as sociology, engineering, psychology, political science or management.


  • Introduces an original analysis of popular safety writings, including Normal Accident, by Perrow
  • Identifies the importance of thinking safety from a sociological angle with the help of key writers
  • Stresses the need for greater sensitivity to strategy and "errors from the top" when it comes to the safety of high-risk systems
  • Explains how globalisation has reconfigured the operating landscape of high-risk systems
  • Renews our understanding of the current safety management challenges in an increasingly global risk picture


Table of Contents

1. One Book, Two Theses (NA and na) 2. Hopkins, the Unofficial Theorist of NA 3. Errors from the Top 4. From Component to Network Failure Accidents 5. (Global) Eco-Socio-Technological Systems: Expanding Scale, Scope and Timeframe: Rethinking Perrow’s 2x2 Matrix 6. Conclusion

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Jean-Christophe Le Coze is a safety researcher (PhD, Mines ParisTech) at INERIS, the French national institute for environmental safety. His activities combine ethnographic studies and action research in various safety-critical systems, with an empirical, theoretical, historical and epistemological orientation.