Mining Publication: A Catastrophe-Theory Model for Simulating Behavioral Accidents
Behavioral accidents are a particular type of accident. They are caused by inappropriate individual behaviors and faulty reactions. Catastrophe theory is a means for mathematically modeling the dynamic processes that underlie behavioral accidents. Based on a comprehensive data base of mining accidents, a computerized catastrophe model has been developed by the Bureau of Mines. This model systematically links individual psychological, group behavioral, and mine environmental variables with other accident causing factors. It answers several longstanding questions about why some normally safe behaving persons may spontaneously engage in unsafe acts that have high risks of serious injury. Field tests with the model indicate that it has three important uses: It can be used as an effective training aid for increasing employee safety consciousness; it can be used as a management laboratory for testing decision alternatives and policies; and it can be used to help design the most effective work teams.