Accident analysis – Reason’s Model how does this apply in Life

What can we learn from Accident Investigation in our own lives?  And, what valuable life lessons can we use daily?

Dr. Reason provided a model that has become known as the Swiss Cheese layers for accident prevention. His example demonstrates how a  variety of processes can interrupt the chain of events leading to an accident.  However each step set in place no matter how close to perfection,  has holes (like swiss cheese) and when the holes line up, a chain of events that can lead to an accident may occur.

So, when it comes to our own lives, what can we do to ensure a safe and desired outcome – in any endeavour?

1. Build layers of protection into our lives.

Here are some examples. We can think of healthy exercise, proper eating, and rest, as layers of defence against disease and illness.  Or, planning our budget, building a savings and investment portfolio to assure financial independence when we no are no longer able or have the desire to work.

2.  Pre conditions.

Fatigue, complacency, attitude, beliefs.  These behaviours can set us up for a disaster.  Samples include: Allowing insurance policies to lapse, driving while tired, believing preparation is unnecessary without regard to the potential failures and hazards. These can all result in reduced layers of protection.

3. Unsafe acts.

Most of us have survived some pretty foolish acts.  Perhaps it involved excessive alcohol/drugs, a daredevil stunt or simply ignoring an obvious precaution.

These are just a few of the latent or active failures that allow an accident chain to breach through all of the layers of defence.

We not only want to have a healthy successful life, but we also enjoy the journey when we can overcome challenges and risk.   The greater the challenges, often results in the most satisfying rewards.

Smart risk therefore, is when we consider the hazards, plan our defences and then tackle the challenge with the confidence that we have put effective planning and preparation in place.

To have a truly exciting and satisfying life we must occasionally take actions that expose us to risk.  It is also most satisfying when we can achieve difficult goals by skillfully navigating through various challenges and hazards.

By creating effective layers of protection as demonstrated in Dr. Reason’s model, we can confidently take the risks required to achieve our goals.


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