Organisational failure: Lessons from industry applied in the medical domain

W. Vuuren, van

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Risk management in the medical domain and medical accidents in particular are receiving growing interest from researchers in industrial engineering and management sciences, psychology, and human factors. Historically there has been little systematic attempt to explore and assess safety for both staff and patients in the medical domain. Conversely, many methods exist to analyse safety and risks in industrial settings, particularly in high-risk industries such as chemical processing, the nuclear power industry, and aviation. To cope with the increasing demand for risk management methods and tools in the medical domain, the possibility of transferring methods and tools initially developed for industrial settings to the medical domain is investigated. This article questions both the benefits and risks of transferring tools from industry to the medical domain. For this purpose, a taxonomy for classifying organisational root causes of safety-related incidents, developed in the steel industry, will be presented. This taxonomy will then be used to classify organisational root causes of both industrial and medical incidents. The article concludes by evaluating the applicability of the taxonomy in the two different domains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-30
JournalSafety Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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