Managing Major Hazards: The Lessons of the Moura Mine Disaster

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Allen & Unwin, 1999 - Science - 150 pages
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Examines workplace risk management in the context of a major mine disaster

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Perspectives on disaster
The communication system
The failure of management responsibility
Was Moura safetyconscious?
Production before safety?
The role of BHP
The safety pays argument
The regulatory system
Company and management hierarchies

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Page 46 - Once formed, initial impressions tend to structure the way that subsequent evidence is interpreted. New evidence appears reliable and informative if it is consistent with one's initial belief; contrary evidence is dismissed as unreliable, erroneous, or unrepresentative.
Page 114 - Rather than attempting a comprehensive survey and evaluation of all alternatives, the decision-maker focuses only on those policies which differ incrementally from existing policies. 2. Only a relatively small number of policy alternatives are considered. 3. For each policy alternative, only a restricted number of "important
Page 18 - Their defining feature is that they were present within the system well before the onset of a recognisable accident sequence. They are most likely to be spawned by those whose activities are removed in both time and space from the direct humanmachine interface: designers, high-level decision makers, regulators, managers and maintenance staff. Reasons argues that an accident or near miss of the type discussed above is usually an 'organisational
Page 113 - Do they need an indicator to tell them whether the deck storekeeper is awake and sober? My goodness!
Page 137 - That is, a situation in which latent failures, arising mainly in the managerial and organisational spheres, combine adversely with local triggering events (weather, location etc) and with the active failures of individuals at the sharp end (errors and procedural violations).
Page 116 - Clearly, by any objective measure, UCC [Union Carbide Corporation] and its managers benefited from the Bhopal incident, as did UCIL [Union Carbide India, Ltd.]. They were politically able to close a burdensome plant, take aggressive actions to restructure both companies, and enhance management benefits. ... It is ironic that a disaster such as Bhopal would leave its victims devastated and other corporate stakeholders better off" (quoted in Lepkowski 1994, 30).
Page 18 - Latent failures: these are decisions or actions, the damaging consequences of which may lie dormant for a long time, only becoming evident when they combine with local triggering factors (that is, active failures, technical faults, atypical system conditions, etc) to breach the system's defences. Their defining feature is that they were present within the system well before the onset of a recognisable accident sequence.
Page 49 - ... the onus is on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the...
Page 89 - ... severity risks are being carefully controlled. On the contrary, the danger is that a single-minded focus on reducing the LTIFR leads systematically to the neglect of catastrophic risk. Where there is potential for catastrophe, safety management must not be driven exclusively by a concern to reduce the lost time injury frequency rate. That way lies disaster, quite literally.

References to this book

About the author (1999)

Andrew Hopkins is senior lecturer in Sociology at the Australian National University and has published extensively in the area of occupational health and safety. He is author of

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