Know the Risk

1st Edition

Learning from errors and accidents: safety and risk in today's technology

Authors: Romney Duffey John Saull
Print ISBN: 9780750675963
eBook ISBN: 9780080509730
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 8th November 2002
Page Count: 227
72.95 + applicable tax
7200.00 + applicable tax
43.99 + applicable tax
54.95 + applicable tax
69.95 + applicable tax
Compatible Not compatible
VitalSource PC, Mac, iPhone & iPad Amazon Kindle eReader
ePub & PDF Apple & PC desktop. Mobile devices (Apple & Android) Amazon Kindle eReader
Mobi Amazon Kindle eReader Anything else

Institutional Access


We live in a technological world, exposed to many risks and errors and the fear of death. Know the Risk shows us how we can learn from the many errors and tragic accidents which have plagued our developing technological world.

This breakthrough volume presents a new concept and theory that shows how errors can and should be analyzed so that learning and experience are accounted for. The authors show that, by using a universal learning curve, errors can be tracked and managed so that they are reduced to the smallest number possible.

The authors have devoted a number of years to gathering data, analyzing theories relating to error reduction, design improvement, management of errors and assignment of cause. The analyzed data relates to millions of errors. They find a common thread between all technology-related accidents and link all of these errors (from the headline stories to the everyday accidents). They challenge the reader to take a different look at the stream of threats, risks, dangers, statistics and errors by presenting a new perspective.

The book makes use of detailed illustrations and explores many headline accidents which highlight human weaknesses in harnessing and exploiting the technology we have developed; from the Titanic to Chernobyl, Bhopal to Concorde, the Mary Rose to the Paddington rail crash and examine errors over which we have little or no control. By analyzing the vast data society has collected, the authors show how the famous accidents and our everyday risks are related.

The authors prove the strength of their observations by comparing their findings to the recorded history of tragedies, disasters, accidents and incidents in chemical, airline, shipping, rail, automobile, nuclear, medical, industrial and manufacturing technologies. They also address the management of Quality and losses in production, the search for zero defects and th

Key Features

Stresses the importance of a learning environment for safety improvement

Places both quality and safety management in the same learning context

Learn how to track and manage errors to reduce as quickly as possible


Industrial managers, maintenance engineers, safety engineers, human factors specialists and all those interested in safety and accident prevention

Table of Contents

Measuring Safety; Safety in Numbers: The Statistics and Measures of Death and Risk; Experience Counts: Accumulating Experience; Error and Accident Rates: The Instantaneous, IR, Accumulated, AR, and Constant, CR, Rates; Traveling in Safety; The Crashes of Aircraft: The Concorde; The Sinking of Ships: Titanic and Today; The Safety of Roads: Accidents with Cars and Trucks; The Railways: from the Rocket to Red Lights at Danger; Working in Safety; Industrial Errors and Chernobyl; Almost Completely Safe Systems; Using a Bucket: Errors in Mixing at the JCO Plant; Chemical and Nuclear Plants; Human Error at Work; Living in safety; Medical safety: Mis-administrations, Malpractice, Drugs and Operations; Terror in Technology; Drinking Water: Walkerton's and Sydney's Risk; Accidental Deaths and Incidental Insurance; Error Management: Strategies for Reducing Risk; Quality Management and the Dream of Zero Defects; A Learning Environment: Safety and Quality Management; Measuring and Managing our Risk: in a Nutshell; Speculations on the Active Minimum Error Rate; Universal Learning Curves: Validating the Theory; Errors and Technology: Are You safe?; Universal Learning Curves and the Exponential Model for Errors, Incidents and Accidents; Extracts from Event Investigations and Inquiries


No. of pages:
© Butterworth-Heinemann 2002
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Author

Romney Duffey

Romney is an internationally recognised scientist, manager, speaker, poet and author, having written over 140 papers and articles. Educated in England, he has over 30 years of international experience in the UK, USA and Canada of technological safety and risk assessment, system design and safety analysis. He is a leading expert in commercial nuclear reactor studies. After a distinguished career working in the US utility industry and government, and leading a not-for-profit Foundation, he is presently The Principal Scientist with AECL (Canada). He is Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and presently is Chair of the Nuclear Engineering Division, an active Member of the America and Canadian Nuclear Societies, and a past Chair of the American Nuclear Society Thermal Hydraulics Division. He has organized and chaired numerous international Conferences. He is active in global environmental and energy studies, and in advanced system design, and is currently leading work on advanced energy concepts.

Affiliations and Expertise

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

John Saull

is an internationally known engineer and author, having written many technical papers on aviation safety. He has over 40 years of experience of commercial aircraft certification, manufacturing, operations and maintenance, and is a leading expert in safety management and human error. He has held a pilot license for 30 years. He is presently the Executive Director of the International Federation of Airworthiness, after a distinguished career with the Air Registration Board and the UK Civil Aviation Authority, where he was Chief Surveyor and Head of Operating Standards. He is a Council Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Freeman of the City of London and Freeman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators. He is an expert on maintenance practices and human error. He has organized and chaired numerous international industry-wide Conferences and Meetings.

Affiliations and Expertise

International Federation of Airworthiness


'One of the most daunting features about major accidents is the complexity of their surface details. For years now, accident theorists have been struggling to find a common underlying pattern that will promote more effective risk management. Now, I believe, one has been found. In their excellent book, Romney Duffey and John Saull have advanced a thesis that is both extraordinarily elegant in its simplicity and extremely persuasive in the light of the wide range of evidence that they adduce to support it. Learning to reduce errors, they argue, is proportional to the number of errors being made. Clearly, then effective error management depends upon tracking the progress in error reduction down the universal learning curve. This, of course, depends critically on a database that tracks errors and defects in an accurate and timely manner. There is much discussion among safety specialists about how to achieve a learning culture--a culture that profits from its accumulated experience. This book provides very clear directions. In my view, it should be required reading for all those concerned with the management of risks, both human and technical, in hazardous operations.' [James Reason, Head of Psychology Department at Manchester University, UK, 2002]