A study described in the book Controlling the Controllable (Groeneweg, 2002, p. 88-89, experiment 2) looked at the ability of incident analysts to distinguish relevant from irrelevant information. The results are intriguing and may put our own incident analyses into perspective. The experimentParticipants were divided into two main groups: A
A safer barrier
James Reason's classic book Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents has a lot of great risk management insights. Here are three paragraphs on adding too many procedures over time (p. 49): All organizations suffer a tension between the natural variability of human behaviour and the system's needs for a high
The best definition of a safety barrier can be found in an article by Sklet from 2006: Safety barriers are physical and/or non-physical means planned to prevent, control, or mitigate undesired events or accidents.This definition has an interesting word. Planned. It implies that besides stopping unwanted events, a
The hierarchy of control is often used as a brainstorming tool to come up with effective controls (aka, barriers). It's good because it favours proactive interventions like eliminating a source of fuel over reactive interventions like putting out a fire. However sometimes it is misused as a formal classification tool.
A barrier can have different states in an incident, mostly divided into four types: 1) Missing barriers 2) Failed barriers 3) Inadequate barriers and 4) Effective barriers. There are considerable differences in interpretation of these states, and when one or the other should be used. Here I'd like to give
In the media today you can read various accounts on Bhopal, exactly 30 years after the disaster. This video makes you think about how organisations often fail to deal with long term consequences of accidents. Often they already struggle to effectively implement corrective measures directly after an incident analysis is