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Accomplishing reliability within fallible systems

Owen, C ORCID: 0000-0002-1985-7886 2009 , 'Accomplishing reliability within fallible systems', in C Owen and P Beguin and G Wackers (eds.), Risky work environments: Reappraising Human Work Within Fallible Systems , Ashgate, Aldershot UK, pp. 99-104.

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Risky Work Environments provides new insights into the multiple and dynamic trajectories of both near misses and mistakes in complex work environments, based on actual case examples. It also studies the interactions between various activity systems or work practices (design, maintenance, incident investigation, regulation, operation) and their consequences for operational performance. The role of rules and regulations is explored, considering the consequences of deviations and the limitations of enforced compliance. Further, the book explains how to search for, think about and act on information about vulnerability, near misses and mistakes in a way that emphasizes accountability in ways that are not punitive but instead responsible, innovative and provide opportunities for learning.

Writing from different disciplines and theoretical perspectives, the contributors analyse working in risky environments which include air traffic control, offshore mining, chemical plants, neo-natal intensive care units, ship piloting and emergency call dispatch centres. In each chapter the authors present rich empirical data and their analyses illustrate a variety of ways in which, despite imperfect systems, safety and resilience is created in human action. In the chapters where the focus is on error or mistakes, the analysis undertaken reveals the logic of actions undertaken at the time as well as their constraints.

The contributors are all active researchers within their disciplines and come from Australia, Finland, France, Norway and the Netherlands. The book will be of direct interest to safety scientists, researchers and scientists, as well as human factors practitioners working in complex technological systems.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Owen, C
Keywords: high reliability work; work practice, organisational learning
Publisher: Ashgate
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