Complexity theory in accident causation: Using AcciMap to identify the systems thinking tenets in 11 catastrophes

Adam Hulme, Neville A. Stanton, Guy H. Walker, Patrick Waterson, Paul M. Salmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The quest to explain and understand the cause of accidents is both ever-present and ongoing amongst the safety science community. In an attempt to advance the theory and science of accident causation, researchers have recently formalised a set of '15 systems thinking tenets' that cover the conditions and characteristics of work systems that are believed to contribute to the cause of accidents. The purpose of this study was to attempt to identify the systems thinking tenets across a range of different systems and accidents using the Accident Mapping (AcciMap) method. The findings suggest that the tenets can be attributed to play a role in accident causation, however as a result of this process, the capability of AcciMap has been brought into question. Implications and directions for future research are described. Practitioner statement: This study is an extension of previous work that suggested there was a need to test for the 'systems thinking tenets of accident causation' in a multi-incident dataset. We used AcciMap to evaluate whether it has the capability to support ongoing accident analysis activities in ergonomics research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalErgonomics
Early online date23 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Dec 2020

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