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Human Error

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Modern technology has now reached a point where improved safety can only be achieved through a better understanding of human error mechanisms. In its treatment of major accidents, the book spans the disciplinary gulf between psychological theory and those concerned with maintaining the reliabiblity of hazardous technologies. Much of the theoretical structure is new and ori ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 26th 1990 by Cambridge University Press (first published January 1st 1990)
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Martin Jones
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because working in a pharmacy, I hoped that having an understanding of the psychological basis of error might be helpful in avoiding it.

The book starts with some history. In the early twentieth century Freud was pondering on apparent slips and “accidents” having a basis in the subconscious. I suppose according to Freud, if someone made a slip in dispensing medication it would be because they had some deep seated dislike of a patient, or harboured unconscious opinions about their
Perry Johnson
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
A difficult read but worth it to understand human error from the perspective of the cognitive psychologist. Reason is the author of the "Swiss Cheese Model" which holds that accidents are the result of the layering of latent failures on top of unsafe acts and local triggers. The book also details the difference between skill-based, rule-based, and knowledge-based error types and presents a theory of error forms which include frequency gambling and similarity matching. While there is little in th ...more
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's a surprisingly easy read for such a dry subject. I learned a lot about the way we form knowledge, skills and how we make mistakes. The last few chapters were very specific to nuclear and industrial applications, so only about 2/3 of the book were of any use to me. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject. ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Probably 3 1/2 stars. Some of this book was really interesting. I got a bit list in the sections having to do with genetics, but for the most part, the writer made the scientific understandable. I learned more about evolution and random selection as well as history of early man.
Alex Railean
This one is not as easy to read as regular prose, it is a dry scientific text with details of experiments and models. It is a good reference if you're researching human errors. ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Fine book on errors and violations.

Distinguishing prior intention and intentional action (vs nonintentional or involuntary)

Cognitive Stage Primary Error Type
Planning Mistakes
Storage Lapses
Execution Slips

Specific activators - mental scratchpad
General activators - frequency of prior use

Boundary categories - Was there a prior intention to commit this particular violation?
If no, then erroneous or unintended violation
If yes, then sabotage

Routine violations - (a) natural tendency to take t
Olga Werby
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm very interested in exploring the origins of human errors. And this book by James Reason seemed liked a good read. I was about to travel and I didn't want to buy a paperback or a hardcover book--there are severe weight limitations for air travel. But I have a Kindle, and this book was available in the Kindle edition.

I should say that I tend not to write negative reviews. But in this case, I have to make an exception. Now my complaints are not with the content of the book. I wish it was writte
Rhonda Sue
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a difficult read-unless you're studying for your doctorate in sociology or psychology-which I am not. I picked this book up after reading another one of the author's book on accidents which was a far easier read. However, I did get the basics on types of human errors and a general overview of the analyses used in the field-which are inconclusive. Humans will always make errors. We have moved along since this book was first published 1990, in finding the root causes of accidents in nuclea ...more
Chet Brandon
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very detailed analysis of the human components of industrial accidents. The material has been around a while but it's still highly applicable to todays world of work. The modes of errors (GSM) theory has been picked up fairly recently and has become an important part of many progressive companies. Great book for practitioners focused on the human aspects of accident prevention. ...more
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book is probably one of the worst reads I have encountered. It is the basis of the most awkward workplace incident investigation and analysis methods I have ever used. After opening this book I understand why this analysis process is so cumbersome and ineffective. Visit the link for related information.
Jim Duncan
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone interested in how to improve the performance of any system that involves humans
Mark McGranaghan
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
A solid review of the science underlying human error. More appropriate for those working on the science itself than practitioners looking to apply it.
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Bof. Een inleiding, maar het leest verouderd.
Nov 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: curious people
Proposes small theories on how we make mistakes that cause accidents. The cause of accidents are far more simple than we might expect but not as simple as human error to be done with.
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“Error is intimately bound up with the notion of intention. The term ‘error’ can only be meaningfully applied to planned actions that fail to achieve their desired consequences without the intervention of some chance or unforeseeable agency. Two basic error types were identified: slips (and lapses), where the actions do not go according to plan, and mistakes, where the plan itself is inadequate to achieve its objectives.” 1 likes
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