The Human Contribution: Unsafe Acts, Accidents and Heroic Recoveries

The Human Contribution: Unsafe Acts, Accidents and Heroic Recoveries

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By (author) James Reason

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  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited
  • Format: Paperback | 250 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 234mm x 20mm | 567g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Aldershot
  • ISBN 10: 0754674029
  • ISBN 13: 9780754674023
  • Illustrations note: includes 29 figures & 8 tables
  • Sales rank: 49,804

Product description

The purpose of this book is to explore the human contribution to both the reliability and resilience of complex well-defended systems. The predominant mode of treating this topic is to consider the human as a hazard, a system component whose unsafe acts are implicated in the majority of catastrophic breakdowns. But there is another perspective, one that has been relatively little studied in its own right, and that is the human as hero, a system element whose adaptations and compensations have brought troubled systems back from the brink of disaster on a significant number of occasions. What, if anything, did these heroes have in common? Can these abilities be 'bottled' and passed on to others?Insightful, eloquent and extremely accessible, James Reason provides the reader with an essential guide to human behaviour on individual and organisational levels, examining the human from both perspectives.

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Author information

James Reason was Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester from 1977-2001, from where he graduated in 1962. His primary research interest has been the human and organizational contributions to the breakdown of complex, well-defended systems. He has written books on absent-mindedness, human error, aviation human factors, on managing the risks of organizational accidents and, most recently, on error management in maintenance operations. He has researched and consulted in the fields of aviation, railways, nuclear power generation, maritime safety, oil exploration and production, mining, chemical process industry, road safety, banking and health care. He received the Distinguished Foreign Colleague Award from the US Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Flight Safety Foundation/Airbus Industrie Award for achievements in human factors and flight safety, and the Roger Green Medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society for contributions to human factors as applied to aerospace, and the Flight Safety Foundation/Boeing Aviation Safety Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the British Psychological Society. He received an honorary DSc from the University of Aberdeen, and was awarded a CBE for contributions to patient safety. In 2006, he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Review quote

'The serious reader will find the book intensely moving at times. The wealth of real case studies, tragedies, splendid successes and discoveries, make it well balanced and difficult to put down. Certainly it merits repeated reading for continuous satisfaction and inspiration.' Occupational Safety & Health, May 2009

Table of contents

Part I Introduction: The human contribution: hazard and hero; A mind user's guide.; Part II Unsafe Acts: The nature and varieties of human error; Violations and the varieties of rule-related behaviour; Perceptions of unsafe acts.; Part III Accidents: Error traps and recurrent accidents; Significant accident investigations.; Part IV Heroic Recoveries: Training, discipline and leadership; Sheer unadulterated professionalism; Skill and luck; Inspired improvisations; The ingredients of heroic recovery.; Part V Achieving Resilience: Individual and collective mindfulness; In search of safety; Index.