Category Archives: Papers

Lost Control, Just Stay in Command: What it Means to be a Ship Captain?

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The previous year witnessed two experienced ship captains being humiliated and eventually criminalized. Accidents, with no evil intentions, were turned into acts of crime. So strong was this perception that even veteran captains and the so called ‘experts’ within the profession found it difficult to understand the ‘erratic’ behaviour and ‘selfish’ actions of the captain in one case, let alone […]

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Enclosed Space Operations: Do We Understand the Risks

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Enclosed spaces have claimed so many lives and resulted in even more serious injuries. Here is my paper that attempts to examine the problems with our current understanding of risks associated with enclosed spaces.  

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FRAM: A Systems Approach to Risk Management and Incident Investigation

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Functional Resonance Analysis Method A brief description of Functional Resonance Analysis Method. The key strength of this methodological approach is that it could be applied to both accident investigations (regression) and risk management (forecasting).  

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Caught in Numbers, Lost in Focus: Safety Management in Global Shipping

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Study after study has been conducted on safety management without ever engaging critically with the term safety or examining how it became one with the science of management. Producing comprehensive accounts of all ‘unharmed’ and ‘uninjured’ events is mundane and resource-intensive. Instead, the alternative approach is to examine harm and injuries both potential and actual. What we get is ‘unsafety management’. If we regard management […]

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Risk Assessment at the Sharp End

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There is not much evidence to show that risk assessments, at least in their current form, are contributing to enhanced awareness of risks in the operational environment. In 1966, the collapse of a coal mine in the Welsh village of Aberfan resulted in the killing of 116 children and 28 adults. Following the disaster, Lord Robens proposed a shift away from […]

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Breaking the Myth: The Effectiveness of Bowties in Risk and Safety Management

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In recent years, bow-ties have become a fashionable tool for managing risk and safety in high-risk industries. The original thinking was based on James Reason’s widely cited Swiss cheese model and the domino effect. Reason argued that accidents (or failures) in socio-technical systems, ie systems comprising human beings and technical components, are “caused” as a result of the dominos falling […]

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Accident Investigations: Learning from Failures or Failure to Learn?

Learning from failure or failure to learn? Behavioural  sciences  are  increasingly  becoming  concerned with the learning that follows from accidents. Many scholars have questioned the underlying causes of ‘accidents’ and the conventional  methods  of  accident  investigations,  but their conclusions vary. In general, accidents are investigated for two reasons – to settle litigation and for professional objectives – that is, to prevent these […]

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