Tracing New Safety Thinking Practices in Safety Investigation Reports

Nektarios Karanikas, Dimitrios Chionis

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Modern safety thinking and models focus more on systemic factors rather than simple cause-effect attributions of unfavourable events on the behaviour of individual system actors. This study concludes previous research during which we had traced practices of new safety thinking practices (NSTPs) in aviation investigation reports by using an analysis framework that includes nine relevant approaches and three safety model types mentioned in the literature. In this paper, we present the application of the framework to 277 aviation reports which were published between 1999 and 2016 and were randomly selected from the online repositories of five aviation authorities. The results suggested that all NSTPs were traceable across the sample, thus followed by investigators, but at different extents. We also observed a very low degree of using systemic accident models. Statistical tests revealed differences amongst the five investigation authorities in half of the analysis framework items and no significant variation of frequencies over time apart from the Safety-II aspect. Although the findings of this study cannot be generalised due to the non-representative sample used, it can be assumed that the so-called new safety thinking has been already attempted since decades and that recent efforts to communicate and foster the corresponding aspects through research and educational means have not yet yielded the expected impact. The framework used in this study can be applied to any industry sector by using larger samples as a means to investigate attitudes of investigators towards safety thinking practices and respective reasons regardless of any labelling of the former as “old” and “new”. Although NSTPs are in the direction of enabling fairer and more in-depth analyses, when considering the inevitable constraints of investigations, it is more important to understand the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each approach from the viewpoint of practitioners rather than demonstrating a judgmental approach in favour or not of any investigation practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication3rd International Cross-industry Safety Conference
Subtitle of host publicationMATEC Web of Conferences
PublisherEDP Sciences
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Event3rd International Cross-industry Safety Conference - CASA Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 31 Oct 20182 Nov 2018


Conference3rd International Cross-industry Safety Conference
Abbreviated titleICSC 2018
Internet address


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