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USC to host accident prevention and research seminar

The latest research on how and why accidents happen and how to prevent them will be the focus of an all-day seminar hosted by the USC Accident Research centre (USCAR) on Tuesday 17 February.

Leading international researchers and USC experts will be among the speakers at the Optimising people, technology and their environment seminar that will address current research and future key challenges on topics as diverse as transport safety, cybercrime, workplace safety, adolescent safety and urban planning and design.

USCAR Director Professor Paul Salmon said much of the research deals with human factors and sociotechnical systems which, in plain speak, is the interaction between people, technology and the environment and what can go wrong.

USCAR’s mission is to understand why accidents happen and work out how best to prevent them,” he said. “Our research seeks to inform the design of systems that optimise human performance and safety and remove potential problems.

“When we use the terms ‘systems’, we don’t just mean technology. We could be talking about footpath design for pedestrians, the role of referees and players in sport or accidents in the home.

“My presentation at the forum will be about investigating aeroplane crashes and how you need to look at an overall systems awareness and why that fails. In the case of the Air France crash a few years ago, the pitot tubes froze and threw out the autopilot, but the plane couldn’t tell the pilots what was wrong so they didn’t react appropriately.

“So, if you take a systems approach, you can fully understand the accident and redesign the system to prevent it, whereas if you took an individual view you would blame the pilots – little changes moving forward. The same accident will happen again, just with different pilots.”

Professor Salmon encourages people working in transport safety, workplace safety, accident analysis and prevention, human factors, ergonomics and academia to attend the free seminar from 9am-4pm on Tuesday 17 February at the Innovation Centre at USC.

For more information, including the full program, or to register your attendance visit the event website, e: t: 5456 5595

Register by Monday 2 February to guarantee a place.

— Jane Cameron

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