Barriers and accident prevention: or how to improve safety by understanding the nature of accidents rather than finding their causes

Accidents are preventable, but only if they are correctly described and understood. Since the mid-1980s accidents have come to be seen as the consequence of complex interactions rather than simple threads of causes and effects. Yet progress in accident models has not been matched by advances in methods. The author's work in several fields (aviation, power production, traffic safety, healthcare) made it clear that there is a practical need for constructive methods and this book presents the experiences and the state-of-the-art. The focus of the book is on accident prevention rather than accident analysis and unlike other books, has a proactive rather than reactive approach. The emphasis on design rather than analysis is a trend also found in other fields.

Book contents:

  1. Accidents and causes

  2. Thinking about accidents

  3. Barrier functions and barrier systems

  4. Understanding the role of barriers in accidents

  5. A systemic accident model

  6. Accident prevention