April 06, 2011

Anticipation, Awareness, Situations and explosion.

Situational awareness is an interesting topic. Thinking back to the class examples of errors of judgement in some sense that lead to disasterous results. Basically people not having full awareness of he situational so not acting in the appropriate way leading to a failure of some sort.

Numerous reasons were identified in in how people fail to grasp complete situational awareness which were split into 3 different categories.
>Gathering information
>Interpreting Information
>Anticipation errors

What surprised me however was the importance of ainticipation error which occurs on an individual and system level. While the occurence of this on an individual level is somewhat limited in scope, the resounding effects when you think of the concept on a system level is quite shocking. Most situations in which an individual does not have complete situational awareness that result in an incident could be attributed to a lack of anticipation on behalf of management.
I'll give an example from class, an individual enters the wrong room, opens valves for on a working reactor... result... big boom. Individual errors arise from the lack of observation in gathering information, incorrect mental model in that the individual was in a frame of mind where they saw what they wanted to see (the not working reactor).
But here comes the crux of.... the anticipation error. An anticipation error can be said to exist because management did not consider what would happen if someone attempted to override the valves to a working reactor, or they failed to anticpate someone entering the wrong room. Management failed to antipate, and does that make them responsible? It just shows the importance that in situations of responsibility complete situational awareness is more important than ever.


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