Human Factor: Risk assessment

Interesting project, accomplished by David Page and his team happening to be skiers. The pre-story comes from a variety of fatal accidents in avalanches. The authors accent a human factor which by certain conditions often leads to taking risk at the moment when in reality the game has to be stopped to avoid dramatic final. So essentially it is not about avalanches but about what they call Heuristics Traps — delusional rationalizations which often may cause us taking wrong directions.


So the authors who are grief-stricken by their friends’ death from element’s disaster want to have a deeper look into the process of decision making at tensed moments, they show how easily all the modern precaution methods and procedures might be crisscrossed by one little ego mistake, how other human factors may cowardly and imperceptibly affect our moves when we are under pressure of a non-stop process, presence of our fellows, extreme situation and etc.

I myself wouldn’t be very interested in case it was just another gargling around amateurish mistakes and the fact that everyone does them. Whatever you do, fly hang gliders, climb glaciers or ski, there is always time to reflect about these things anyway.

But here they seem to take good examples about professional guides who as a matter of fact are supposed to be aware and trained beforehand. So I am keen on to track down their story. These people and their clients become victims of a deceptive impression that they have carried out all the safety requirements, proceeded all possible snow tests and analysis by getting slabs to shear off etc. Thus it all looks like nothing else could be done in order to foresee that the conditions were not good. Professionalism, great equipment, everything was there… so in the end the accident is attributed to a black hand of the cruel fate. Which might be a case for many of them though.

Each week starting from 11th November they issue a chapter with a next story on purpose to show another example of human factor screwing up decision making.