A major challenge for organizations and safety researchers alike is that commonly used measures of safety (e.g., accident/incident rates, safety behavior) support a reactive rather than a proactive approach to safety. We argue that Reason’s (1990) widely-accepted model of the causes of error suggests a more useful place to focus measurement attempts: preconditions for unsafe acts. Measuring and investigating preconditions rather than errors or outcomes facilitates a proactive, preventive focus; furthers theory development regarding the role of organizational factors in safety; and offers potential remedies to measurement challenges in safety research.
Gibbons, A. M.,
& von Thaden, T. L.
(2007). Proactive Safety Requires Proactive Measurement. 2007 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 238-243.