SA-P01-067 - Understanding human factors in crowd disasters: a socio-technical systems approach

Human error and accidents
Poster Presentation
3 heures 30 minutes
O'Brien Foyer
Occupational and organizational safety
Human error and accidents
Understanding human factors in crowd disasters: a socio-technical systems approach
K. I. Cichomska 1,*, M. A. Robinson 1, M. C. Davis 1
1Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
Content:  Purpose
This paper demonstrates how socio-technical systems theory can be used as a guiding framework for understanding the complex interplay of human factors in crowd disasters. First, previous examples of crowd research using this approach will be presented. Second, findings from the authors’ recent study investigating selected international disasters will be described. The paper will close by examining the benefits and limitations of this approach. This work forms part of a larger research project looking at impact of cultural aspects in the management of emergencies in public transport.
Existing academic sources, reports and major international newspapers were reviewed and compared to inform the analysis of eleven major crowd disasters. Socio-technical systems framework was used to identify and represent human factors contributing to these tragedies.
The results highlight the complexity and interrelatedness of different factors influencing human behaviour leading to crowd disasters, and point to some prominent similarities across the reviewed events.
Due to crowd disasters being relatively rare it was impossible to identify contextually identical events. Therefore, the study reviewed a wide range of catastrophes that were different from one another in terms of their setting, size and location. This made it difficult to critically compare and contrast them.
Research/Practical Implications
Understanding the complexity of human factors in crowd disasters allows for identification of key issues to address when preparing for and managing major events.
This study highlights the benefits of using the socio-technical systems approach to recognise and represent important crowd management considerations.


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