Tag Archives: safety-I

The Varieties of Human Work

The analysis of work cannot be limited to work as prescribed in procedures etc (le travail prescrit), nor to the observation of work actually done (le travail réalisé). Similarly, it cannot be limited to work as we imagine it, nor work as people talk about it. Only by considering all four of these varieties of human work can we hope to understand what’s going on. Continue reading

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Just culture: Who are we really afraid of?

When we think about just culture, we usually think about accidents and incidents, associated ‘honest mistakes’ and ‘negligence’ (by whatever name), as well as official responses to these, at company and judicial level. The notion of just culture is driven … Continue reading

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Never/zero thinking

There has been much talk in recent years about ‘never events’ and ‘zero harm’, similar to talk in the safety community about ‘zero accidents’. It sounds obvious: no one would want an accident. And we all wish that serious harm would not result from accidents. But as expressed and implemented top-down, never/zero is problematic for many reasons. In this post, I shall outline just a few, as I see them. Continue reading

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‘Human error’ in the headlines: Press reporting on Virgin Galactic

Again, a familiar smoke pattern has emerged from the ashes of a high-profile accident. The National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing in Washington D.C. on 28 July 2015 on the Virgin Galactic crash over California on October 31, 2014. … Continue reading

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Is ‘human error’ the handicap of human factors? A discussion among human factors specialists.

Following most major accidents, one phrase is almost guaranteed to headline in the popular press: ‘human error’. The concept is also popular in the ergonomics and human factors (EHF) discipline and profession; it is probably among the most profitable in … Continue reading

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Mind your Mindset: Safety-I and Safety-II

During the last few years, different ways of thinking about safety have challenged prevailing worldviews in safety-related professions. Many of the emerging ideas actually have clear roots in writings going back into the early 1980s (particularly by Jens Rasmussen, Erik Hollnagel … Continue reading

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Life After ‘Human Error’ – Velocity Europe 2014

This is a keynote address from Velocity Europe 2014 in Barcelona on 17 November. I wanted to give a fairly light presentation (it was first slot in the morning!) to summarise some key issues in moving on from a focus … Continue reading

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