Designing and Operating Safety Systems: The Missing Link

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

SDM Alumnus John Helferich, Former Senior Vice President of R&D, Mars Inc., and Ph.D. Student, MIT Engineering Systems Division

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Date: July 29, 2013

About the Presentation

Hospital safety, aviation safety, food safety, product safety and virtually any safety system designed to prevent injury or death, share a critical, often overlooked component: the people who design, operate, and manage them. Recent research shows that they often make mistakes because they are rarely considered part of the system.

This webinar will address why and how to incorporate "safety of management" to minimize errors. It will cover:

  • examples of safety failures and high-level analyses of their origins;
  • a description of the STAMP (Systems Theoretic Accident Model and Process) model developed by MIT Professor Nancy Leveson and described in her book, Engineering a Safer World (MIT Press, January 2012);
  • ways that managers can use STAMP's hazard analysis methods to make safer decisions; and
  • mitigation strategies for unsafe managerial decisions.

Webinar attendees will gain a preliminary understanding of how to apply systems thinking to incorporate STAMP and improve safety, no matter what the industry.

About the Speaker

John Helferich has 28 years of experience with every phase of R&D in the food industry. He has expertise in innovation, technical leadership, fundamental research, intellectual property, quality assurance and food safety, external advisory boards, and product development. He founded and led Mars' Cocoa Sustainability Programs and is an expert in the strategic assessment and management of technology and innovation in the food industry.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.

John Helferich

John Helferich

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