Risk-based Thinking – managing the uncertainty of human error in operations
The net effect? Safety practitioners at best are ridiculed, at worst question their career choice. More often than not, they wonder what the hell to focus on.
This book provides the answer. Over nine chapters, Tony Muschara takes us on a tour of why things go wrong at work and how we -- as risk management professionals -- cannot simply try to avoid the negatives, but also work to boost the potential positives.
A seasoned expert in the nuclear industry and a former submarine officer, the author has a gripping narrative style, deftly blending personal perspective with hard-edged fact, clear guidance and excellent referencing. He spices this mix with superb "case studies" -- though you might not imagine them as such with titles such as "Near Hit: man says hold the cheese" and "Wolves redirect the Yellowstone river". Go with them and you'll be rewarded.
All the latest thinking is included and given a well-thought-out perspective, from Erik Hollnagel's Safety I and Safety II to positioning safety as a core value, just culture, risk-based thinking, systems learning, and an eloquent section on the pros and cons of both lagging and leading metrics.
Not content with cognitive stimulation, he ends each chapter with focused advice on "Things you can do tomorrow", providing the reader with a tidy to-do list for enhancing human and operational performance in their own organisation.
Critical steps and key principles of human performance provide the framework for this adventurous wander through what feels like all the best research of all time. Sitting behind the text is the equation Hu=(Bx+R) (or human performance is one or more behaviours directed towards a particular result, for mere mortals).
If your interest in the psychology of risk has been piqued in recent years -- whether as a student or a seasoned practitioner -- and you are striving to improve the performance of your workforce, you'd do well to read this book. Full marks: highly recommended.