Advocates of systems thinking approaches argue that accident prevention strategies should focus on reforming the system rather than on fixing the “broken components.” However, little guidance exists on how organizations can translate incident data into prevention strategies that address the systemic causes of accidents. This article describes and evaluates a series of systems thinking prevention strategies that were designed in response to the analysis of multiple incidents. The study was undertaken in the led outdoor activity (LOA) sector in Australia, which delivers supervised or instructed outdoor activities such as canyoning, sea kayaking, rock climbing and camping. The design process involved workshops with practitioners, and focussed on incident data analyzed using Rasmussen's AcciMap technique. A series of reflection points based on the systemic causes of accidents was used to guide the design process, and the AcciMap technique was used to represent the prevention strategies and the relationships between them, leading to the creation of PreventiMaps. An evaluation of the PreventiMaps revealed that all of them incorporated the core principles of the systems thinking approach and many proposed prevention strategies for improving vertical integration across the LOA system. However, the majority failed to address the migration of work practices and the erosion of risk controls. Overall, the findings suggest that the design process was partially successful in helping practitioners to translate incident data into prevention strategies that addressed the systemic causes of accidents; refinement of the design process is required to focus practitioners more on designing monitoring and feedback mechanisms to support decisions at the higher levels of the system.
Frontiers in Psychology / Vol. 7, No. Article 1974, pp.1-17