Learning from failures: the case of Deepwater Horizon disaster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Background: In this work, it is argued that learning from failures and safety competence should be an important part of the curriculum of Engineering and Management students. The case of Deepwater Horizon will be used to illustrate how to learn about learning from failures using multi-models inspired by reliability and risk analysis in order to investigate disasters.

Novelty: This type of analysis can offer richness to our understanding of the root causes and provide insight into policy making and support decisions for resource allocations for prevention of such disasters.
Relevance for the conference: The concept of learning and unlearning from failures is relevant to the reliability and safety community.

Methods and findings: The analysis is based on a workshop related to learning from failures where students and practitioners were first given a brief about the related theory of reliability analysis and decision science, followed by introduction of the analytical techniques that can be used (such as FTA, and RBD). They were then given a brief in the form of a narrative of the accident from investigation re-ports, and they were then divided into small groups with the task to perform an analysis of the disaster followed by presentation of recommendations in the form of a written report and an oral presentation. Finally, a set of generic lessons and recommendations are provided in order to prevent future system failure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSafety and Reliability: Methodology and Applications
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 24th European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2014, Wroclaw, Poland, 14-18 September 2014)
EditorsTomasz Nowakowski, Marek Młyńczak, Anna Jodejko-Pietruczuk, Sylwia Werbińska-Wojciechowska
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-1315736976
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014


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