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The Australian National University

Disastrous Decisions:The Human and Organisational Causes

Hopkins, A
School of Sociology
2012
Book

Abstract

On 20 April 2010, a huge floating drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon, had just completed
drilling an ultra-deep well in the Gulf of Mexico when it suffered a blowout. The
subsequent explosions and fire led to the loss of 11 lives, the sinking of the rig, and
untold damage to the environment and to the livelihood of Gulf residents.

In his latest book – Disastrous Decisions: The Human and Organisational Causes of the Gulf
of Mexico Blowout
– leading disaster analyst, Professor Andrew Hopkins, takes the reader
into the realm of human and organisational
factors that contributed to this disaster, going beyond all previous commentary
on this topic. He acknowledges that it is important to know what people did, but even
more important to know why they did it.

The decision-makers invariably thought they were doing the right thing, when in
fact their decisions were taking them a step at a time on a path to disaster. This book,
therefore, attempts to “get inside the heads” of decision-makers and understand how
they themselves understood the situations they were in. It also seeks to discover what
it was in their organisational environment that encouraged them to think and act as
they did.

Hopkins provides a sophisticated analysis of the accident that fi rst identifi es a series of
critical defences that failed and then goes on to explain why they failed.
Disastrous Decisions: The Human and Organisational Causes of the Gulf of Mexico
Blowout
is an essential reference for all work, health and safety professionals.

Link: 
https://lrus.wolterskluwer.com/store/products/disastrous-decisions-human-organisational-causes-gulf-mexico-blowout-prod-1921948779/paperback-item-1-1921948779

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