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Managing the risks of organizational accidents by James T. Reason - Essay Example

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When accidents happen, there is loss of material wealth as well as human lives. On the occurrence of an unfortunate mishap, post-mortems of the incident are carried out, the whys and wherefores of the accident are ascertained. This need not be done if the individuals or organizations involved follow the simple yet effective steps illustrated in the illustrious book "Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents" by James Reason.
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Managing the risks of organizational accidents by James T. Reason
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Download file to see previous pages As the above diagrams elucidate there are layers of defenses placed at every step of operation. When a latent error happens due to at one stage the next operating layer has defenses so that the mistake is not passed on in the chain of procedures. Only when all the layers of operation fall in line to allow for the lapse to carry on does the entire system come crashing down.
The first chapter on "Hazards, Defenses and Losses" brings to light the type of errors (human or organizational) that may occur, the precautions or defenses a person or an organization may take in order to prevent them. Also talked of are the tangible and intangible losses that have to be borne.
"The Human Contribution" is a chapter devoted to the prospect of human error. Though the book in its entirety does not hold individuals responsible for a systemic failure, the many times human errors led to large scale mishaps are explored here. Important examples include the Apollo 13 slip-up, Glenborough disaster, Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident etc.
"Maintenance cans Seriously Damage your System" is a misnomer as the author presents sets of bad maintenance leading towards the damage of the entire structure. It is a continuation from the previous chapter of the human factor responsible for great errors.
"Navigating the Safety Space" is a chapter wherein the author forays into the amount of leeway allowable to a system before it crashes.
The next four chapters are useful instruction guides to policy makers; design engineers etc. to make for defect minimizing systems.
In "A Practical Guide to Error Management" the author writes on the hands down approach to managing errors.
The chapter "The Regulator's Unhappy Lot" explains the measures and methods of restructuring an organization to steer clear of catastrophes.
Chapter 9, "Engineering a Safety Culture" suggests a whole lot of relevant arguments for creating a safety culture within an establishment.
"Reconciling the Different Approaches to Safety Management", the final chapter calls upon managers, engineers and the maintenance people to adapt to appropriate safety techniques in order to avoid the risks of ending up with a disaster financially, materially or otherwise.
Critique: The book is a compulsory read for all personnel working in risky atmosphere, hazardous industries etc. The author has used all his expertise in dealing with the issue of accident negation or at least reduction.
Strengths: The strength of the book lies in its simplicity. The easy to understand language and lucid style make it a universal reference guide for managers and workers alike.
Weaknesses: Apparently there appear no ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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