Eryn Grant's Thesis Presentation

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Eryn Grant's Thesis Presentation

We invite you to attend the Thesis Presentation of Eryn Grant, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate within the School of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.

Title: Toward a unified set of accident causation tenets: Identification and application in accident analysis

Presenter: Eryn Grant

When: Thursday 6 December from 2-3pm

Where: Building T, T4.02 (Health and Sports Centre)

Abstract: The shift from reactive to proactive safety is one that must address how systems can respond to increased complexity. However, it is also acknowledged that the problem of assessing proactive safety is bounded by what is currently known and learnt from modelling systems post-accident using systems-based causation methods. The aim of the thesis was to determine if the accumulated knowledge from current systems-based accident causation models provided an adequate resource to interpret a systems safety status prior to an accident occurring. First, the thesis began with a review of the five leading systems thinking based accident causation models with the aim of identifying the core philosophies relating to safety and accidents in sociotechnical systems. The accident causation models reviewed for the thesis were Nancy Leveson’s Systems Theoretic Accident Model and Processes, Jens Rasmussen’s Risk Management Framework, Charles Perrow’s Normal Accident Theory, Sidney Dekker’ Drift into Failure model and Eric Hollnagel’s Functional Resonance Analysis Method. The conclusion was a complete set of fifteen accident causation tenets or “systems thinking tenets” drawn from accident causation models underpinned by systems thinking. The thesis uses several case studies, which confirm the existence of the systems thinking tenets in accident systems. Once this was completed the tenets were then applied in two case studies to determine their value in assessing the safety status of systems in pre-accident conditions.

The results suggested that the tenets can express the safety status of systems, however with limitations. It was found that the tenets can readily express known safety status issues in line with the problems systems ergonomics methods are known to solve. However, the tenets were less effective when required to interpret systems complexity in line with identified weaknesses relating to proactive safety. Therefore, one key recommendation is that further research should identify how systems ergonomics can bridge the gap of complexity related to key issues of normal performance, performance variability and emergence in systems and respond to the problematic areas of proactive safety knowledge.

Bio: Eryn Grant is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology, receiving a first class honours at Queensland University of Technology in 2004. Eryn spent several years researching and teaching in the creative industries before starting her PhD at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Eryn has recently joined the engineering and management consultancy, Acmena Group, located in Brisbane as a Human Factors and System Safety consultant.

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We look forward to seeing you there.

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