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Learning from Disasters

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  1. Queen’s University, Belfast Learning from Disasters Queen’s University, BelfastandThe Health and Safety Executive,Northern IrelandPresented by Alan Jennings(Professor Emeritus, QUB)

  2. Queen’s University, Belfast A Taboo Subject or aGolden Opportunity There is ‘a natural but not inevitable tendency amongst engineers towards collective amnesia concerning structural failures of previous generations and the lessons to be learnt from them’ (11th SCOSS Report, 1999)

  3. Queen’s University, Belfast A Learning Experience for Students Students are divided into groups of up to six with no more than three Stage 1 and three Stage 2 (There were 33 groups in Jan. 2005) The group brief is to investigate and report on four related disasters Three of these disasters are specified They themselves have to find the other

  4. Queen’s University, Belfast A typical group assignment Fires in places of entertainment 2. 8. 1973 Summerland, Isle of Man 14. 2. 1981 Stardust Nightclub, Dublin 25.12.2000 Dongdu Disco,China (The exercise takes place over four working days)

  5. Queen’s University, Belfast Professional Assistance Funding Assistance 1994-6 -- -- 1997 Enterprise Engineers 1999 HSE(NI) HSE(NI) - 2005 + Engineers Assistance given with: Planning, Consulting Sessions and Assessment

  6. Queen’s University, Belfast A Learning Experience for Staff Lecturers themselves do not need to be experts They: Pass on research talents to students Learn themselves about disasters Learn themselves about practice

  7. Queen’s University, Belfast Grappling with Technology Learning the importance of concepts eg: Redundancy (The WTC) Unsymmetric bending (West Gate Bridge) Buckling (Quebec Bridge) Progressive Collapse (Ronan Point) Ponding instability (Kemper Arena) Soil liquefaction (Kobe)

  8. Queen’s University, Belfast The Changing World that disaster investigations start to recognise: New materials and techniques Automation and computerisation Increasing populations Increasing speed and volume of traffic Greater public expectations New laws

  9. Queen’s University, Belfast Underlying Human Factors Over-tight financing or scheduling Inadequate training Communication problems Lack of care in innovation Lack of feedback from incidents Blurred lines of responsibility Low priority given to safety Unsocial behaviour

  10. Queen’s University, Belfast The Need to Delve Deeply Both technical and human factors are always present Furthermore they interact with each other What are the lessons for designers? What are the lessons for managers?

  11. Queen’s University, Belfast Conclusion Students welcome these exercises They tackle ‘collective amnesia’ Staff do not need to be experts Technical and human factors are both important Support from the HSE and practicing engineers is very valuable