Preventing Corporate Accidents: An Ethical Approach

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Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann, 2008 - Technology & Engineering - 360 pages
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The passing of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill in the UK and increasing public and investor pressure for good Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility, means organizations now, more than ever, need to ensure they do all they can to prevent major accidents. However, past experience shows that just implementing safety management systems is not enough and this book makes the case for a more holistic and ethical approach to improving corporate systems as a whole.

Preventing Corporate Accidents shows how major accidents can result from human error and defects in corporate systems. The book describes accident prevention strategies, from safety culture, safety management systems, foresight and planning to safety regulations, corporate ethics, corporate social responsibility and the learning organization. Barry Whittingham illustrates with international case studies from various industries how and why these defences have failed in the past, and more importantly, how to strengthen corporate systems to prevent future major accidents.

The case studies include:
  • The loss of the space shuttle Columbia

  • Infant heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary

  • The Davis-Besse nuclear power plant incident

  • The fire and explosion at the Conoco-Phillips Humber oil refinery

  • Herald of Free Enterprise and Southall rail accident manslaughter prosecutions


This book is essential reading for all those with a professional interest in health and safety management, the control of major risk and accident prevention, in particular for directors, senior managers and health & safety professionals in high-hazard industries and public operations, such as nuclear, chemicals, construction, oil and gas, energy, manufacturing and transportation.

Barry Whittingham has worked as a senior manager, design engineer and consultant for the chemical, nuclear, offshore, oil and gas, railway and aviation sectors. He developed a career as a safety consultant specializing in the human factors aspects of accident causation. Barry is a Fellow of the Safety and Reliability Society.

* Learn what the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill 2007 means for your business
* Helps managers and directors in checking whether they have appropriate accident prevention strategies in place
* Illustrates potential weaknesses with numerous case studies of past accidents from a variety of industries and countries

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About the author (2008)

R.B.Whittingham is an author and chemical engineer with 40 years experience in plant and technical management, design engineering and safety consultancy in the chemical, oil and gas, railway, aviation and nuclear industries. He has a special interest in the role of human error in accident causation and the use of human reliability analysis to predict the likelihood and causes of potentially dangerous errors. He has been involved in the development of safety cases and risk assessments for major facilities including the Channel Tunnel, London Underground's Jubilee Line Extension, Sellafield Nuclear Reprocessing Plant and many other major hazard installations such as chemical plants, nuclear power stations and offshore oil and gas platforms. More recently he has undertaken human reliability assessments of Airport Fire Service response to aircraft accidents and of airport ramp operations. He has been involved in the preparation of a Risk Model of potential fire and evacuation scenarios at major UK airport terminals and has carried out human factors research for the Health and Safety Executive. He is a Fellow of the Safety and Reliability Society, has authored over 30 technical papers and articles and conducts seminars and training courses in human reliability and safety management.

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