Making Sense of Reason: A Review of the Message James Reason Put Forward for a Re-Think of Safety Management Principles

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 28, 2015
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.50

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Making Sense of Reason: A review of the message James Reason put forward for a re-think of Safety Management Principles

Abstract: Mention the author James Reason and most industrial safety professions could draw and describe the “Swiss Cheese Model” of barriers of protection; they can also quote examples of its use and perhaps have a view of the model’s effectiveness and drawbacks.  An academic will (hopefully) concentrate on its downsides and its supporting Heinrich’s “Pyramid of Risk”.

What both these audiences concentrate on is that these models are only discussed in Chapter 1 of Reason’s “Managing the Risk of Organisational Incidents” and not the conclusion in Chapter 10: Reconciling the Different Approaches to Safety Management. Reason draws on the work of Weik’s on “Sensemaking” and how awareness of the operating consequences of action are more important that causes of error.

It is the intention of this paper to review this last chapter in particular in the light of current trends that promote Risk Management, Incident Recording and Lead/Lagging Indicators as the “new direction in safety management”. Reasons suggest to us that we need to encompass more of general management principles in the way that we think about safety in the work place and perhaps using the analogy of moving from Quality Control to Quality Assurance. This is a move away from the Engineering model and its linear solutions, to an Organisational Model where responsibility lies with the Person rather than the System which is still the current trend.

It will draw on case studies to demonstrate that this alternative approach has validity

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