Barriers and Accident Prevention

Erik Hollnagel

Ph.D., Professor, Professor Emeritus


Hollnagel, E. (2004). Barriers and accident prevention. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

Japanese translation: ヒューマンファクターと事故防止 (2006). Tokyo, Japan: Kaibundo.

Spanish translation: Barreras y prevención de accidentes (2009). Madrid, Spain: Modus Laborandi.


Accidents have probably happened since the first caveman lit the first fire, but for many centuries the consequences of accidents were mostly limited to the people directly doing the work – what we now call the people at the sharp end. The introduction of technology to the work process changed all that. This development may with some justification be linked to the industrial revolution and even more precisely to the year 1769 when James Watt patented the steam engine. The industrial revolution introduced the large-scale use of machines as part of human work beginning with mining and manufacturing, and thereby inevitably changed the very nature of work. Machines did not only make production faster and more ...

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