Towards a unified model of accident causation: refining and validating the systems thinking safety tenets

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The systems thinking tenets were developed based on a synthesis of contemporary accident causation theory, models and approaches and encapsulate 15 features of complex systems that interact to create both safety and adverse events. Whilst initial testing provided supportive evidence, the tenets have not yet been subject to formal validation. This article presents the findings from a three-round Delphi study undertaken to refine and validate the tenets and assess their suitability for inclusion in a unified model of accident causation. Participants with expertise in accident causation and systems thinking provided feedback on the tenets and associated definitions until an acceptable level of consensus was achieved. The results reduced the original 15 tenets to 14 and 10 were identified as important to include in unified model of accident causation. The refined systems thinking tenets are presented along with future research directions designed to facilitate their use in safety practice. Practitioner summary: This article presents a refined and validated set of systems thinking tenets which describe features of complex systems that interact to create adverse events. The tenets can be used by practitioners to proactively identify safety leading indicators and contributory factors during adverse event analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalErgonomics
Early online date9 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Accident causation
  • accident analysis and prevention
  • complexity
  • safety
  • systems thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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