Episode 29 – Ethics and DC-10s

Safety engineering and management is full of compromises. We compromise between short term and long term risk. We compromise between absolute assurance and practicability. We compromise between blame and understanding. The one thing we can’t compromise is our professional code of conduct. Or can we? Should our actions be bound by a strict set of rules, or by their intended and expected outcomes? Is an action good because its what we would want if we were in someone elses shoes, or because it makes us into the sort of person we want to be?

And just how did McDonnell Douglas manage to stage two near-perfect dress rehearsals before a DC-10 crashed into the French woodlands?

Episode transcript is now available.

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Episode 28 – Level Crossings

This episode is all about level crossing safety. Level crossings are a simple situation, repeated throughout the world, that illustrate a number of important safety concepts. Through accidents such as Hixon, Lockington, Kerang, Langenweddingen and Fox River Grove we can learn lessons about human factors, dependability trade-offs, safety management interfaces and risk prioritisation.

Episode 28 transcript is now available.

The Introduction to System Safety course in Canberra, 7-11 April 2014. Let me know via the feedback link above if you’re coming along.


  1. The study of train drivers and heavy vehicle drivers mentioned in the episode
  2. The Hixon accident report [pdf]
  3. The Lockington accident report [pdf]
  4. The Kerang rail safety investigation report [pdf]
  5. The Fox River Grove Highway/RailRoad Accident Report [pdf]

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