Understanding the ‘Swiss Cheese Model’ of Error

Longreads

The human lapses that occurred after the computerized ordering system and pill-dispensing robots did their jobs perfectly well is a textbook case of English psychologist James Reason’s “Swiss cheese model” of error. Reason’s model holds that all complex organizations harbor many “latent errors,” unsafe conditions that are, in essence, mistakes waiting to happen. They’re like a forest carpeted with dry underbrush, just waiting for a match or a lightning strike.

Still, there are legions of errors every day in complex organizations that don’t lead to major accidents. Why? Reason found that these organizations have built-in protections that block glitches from causing nuclear meltdowns, or plane crashes, or train derailments. Unfortunately, all these protective layers have holes, which he likened to the holes in slices of Swiss cheese.

On most days, errors are caught in time, much as you remember to grab your house keys right before you lock yourself out…

View original post 173 more words

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s