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The critical re-action: learning from accidents


How do organizations react and learn from accidents? The current paper deals with the justified necessity of acting upon, and learning from accidents. The aim is to discuss organizational dynamics and interplay, evoked and put into (re)action ‘after the fact’.The paper is part of an interview study that was designed to invite individuals to reflect back, and search for patterns in terms of how they interpret the learning impact of an accident, not just in terms of changes within their own organization that can be traced back to accidents, but for the sector as a whole. A presumption for this study was the importance to look at organizational interaction, i.e. how organizations act, affect, and speak with each other. In all 30 people from the rail and marine sector were interviewed with regard to (1) revealed changes in the aftermath of the accident, and (2) conditions for learning from accidents. Thematically, the interviews had two major accidents in Norway as a background theme: The highspeed craft MS Sleipner-accident (1999) and the railway accident at Åsta (2000).The paper reports and discusses key findings from the study, with a specific focus on the interplay between actors and parallel processes in the aftermaths of an accident.


Academic lecture




  • Fred Størseth
  • Ranveig Kviseth Tinmannsvik


  • SINTEF Digital / Software Engineering, Safety and Security

Presented at

Working on Safety




07.09.2010 - 10.09.2010



View this publication at Cristin