10 What is Your Accident Model?

Where you look for causes depends on how you believe accidents happen. Whether you know it or not, you apply an accident model to your analysis and understanding of failure. An accident model is a mutually agreed, and often unspoken, understanding of how accidents occur. Today there are, roughly, three kinds of accident models: 1 , 2

  • The sequence-of-events model. This model sees accidents as a chain of events that leads up to a failure. One event causes another, and so on, until the entire series produces an accident. It is also called the domino model, as one domino trips the next.
  • The epidemiological model. This model sees accidents as related to latent failures that hide in everything from management decisions ...

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