Friday, July 16, 2010

The Human Contribution

Book by James Reason The Human Contribution: Unsafe Acts, Accidents and Heroic Recoveries. Published by Ashgate 2008

Some of this book is really interesting and useful. Equally, I did feel quite a lot of the content could have been cut to make it more readable and focussed on the real issues. I'd say it was not the writing that was the problem, but instead a lack of good editing.

It is certainly a book worth reading, and I will put some further posts here summarising some of the bits I thought were most useful. I'll start with some excerpts from the introduction.

"The purpose of this book is to explore the human contribution to both the reliability and resilience of complex and well-defended systems." However, instead of just taking the normal view that the human in a system is a 'hazard' because of its unsafe acts, the book also explores the role of the human as a 'hero' whose adaptations and compensations have "brought troubled systems back from the brink of disaster." The author says that he believes that learning more about 'heroic recoveries' will be "potentially more beneficial to the pursuit of improved safety in dangerous operations."

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