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Normal Accidents - Living with High Risk Technologies

ISBN-10: 0691004129
ISBN-13: 9780691004129
Edition: 2000 (Revised)
Authors: Charles Perrow
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Description: Normal Accidentsanalyzes 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $39.95
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 10/17/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.628
Language: English

Normal Accidentsanalyzes 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.

Charles Perrow is professor emeritus of sociology at Yale University. He has worked as a consultant for the U.S. military, the White House, and the nuclear-power industry.

Abnormal Blessings
Introduction
Normal Accident at Three Mile Island
Nuclear Power as a High-Risk System: Why We Have Not Had More TMIs--But Will Soon
Complexity, Coupling, and Catastrophe
Petrochemical Plants
Aircraft and Airways
Marine Accidents
Earthbound Systems: Dams, Quakes, Mines, and Lakes
Exotics: Space, Weapons, and DNA
Living with High-Risk Systems
Afterword
Postscript: The Y2K Problem
List of Acronyms
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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