This series draws on the success of the systems-thinking approach to safety management in commercial and military aviation, with a view to improving safety performance in other complex socio-technical systems, such as health-care, nuclear power generation, chemicals production, oil and gas extraction, deep mining and sea and rail transportation.
Following the 1977 Tenerife air disaster (that killed 583 people), a traumatised and vilified aviation industry resolved to improve its safety performance. The adoption of a systems-thinking approach to risk analysis and mitigation, expressed in innovations such as the teamworking protocol crew resource management, has benefited the industry. In 2010 the industry achieved a world accident rate for scheduled flights of 4·0 accidents per million departures. This rate reflects a total of 121 accidents out of 30,556,513 scheduled flights. You are much, much safer in a pressurised aluminium tube cruising at eighty per cent the speed of sound six miles above terra firma than you are driving up the M1 on a sunny day in a modern, gas-bag equipped automobile, fully alert and not under the influence.
The series is aimed at practitioners as well as academics and students. To this end, it is written in an accessible style with jargon explained. This reflects its purpose: to leverage change.