Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies / Edition 1

Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies / Edition 1

by Charles Perrow
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691004129

ISBN-13: 9780691004129

Pub. Date: 09/27/1999

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety—building in more warnings and safeguards—fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of

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Overview

Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety—building in more warnings and safeguards—fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of accidents. (At Chernobyl, tests of a new safety system helped produce the meltdown and subsequent fire.) By recognizing two dimensions of risk—complex versus linear interactions, and tight versus loose coupling—this book provides a powerful framework for analyzing risks and the organizations that insist we run them.

The first edition fulfilled one reviewer's prediction that it "may mark the beginning of accident research." In the new afterword to this edition Perrow reviews the extensive work on the major accidents of the last fifteen years, including Bhopal, Chernobyl, and the Challenger disaster. The new postscript probes what the author considers to be the "quintessential 'Normal Accident'" of our time: the Y2K computer problem.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691004129
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/27/1999
Edition description:
Updated edition with a New afterword and a new postscript by the author
Pages:
386
Sales rank:
334,319
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.18(d)

Table of Contents

Abnormal Blessings vii

Introduction 3

1. Normal Accident at Three Mile Island 15

2. Nuclear Power as a High-Risk System: Why We Have Not Had More TMIs—But Will Soon 32

3. Complexity, Coupling, and Catastrophe 62

4. Petrochemical Plants 101

5. Aircraft and Airways 123

6. Marine Accidents 170

7. Earthbound Systems: Dams, Quakes, Mines, and Lakes 232

8. Exotics: Space, Weapons, and DNA 256

9. Living with High-Risk Systems 304

Afterword 353

Postscript: The Y2K Problem 388

List of Acronyms 413

Notes 415

Bibliography 426

Index 441

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