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In this assessment  task students will use an accident case study provided by your lecturer to evaluate the effectiveness of TWO selected theoretical accident causation models in explaining the failures which occurred in the case study.

The Titanic Sinking: Causes and Analysis

The Titanic sinking is one of the most severe accidents that the world has witnessed since the beginning of time. The Titanic ship was the largest ship to have ever traveled over the Atlantic Ocean (Lord, 2012). The giant ship hit an iceberg and sank within almost three hours. More than 1300 people died due to the sinking of the vessel (?orovi?, and Djurovic, 2013). However, the rescue teams managed to assist more than 2000 passengers from perishing (Felkins, Leigh, and Jankovic, 2010). The captain was steering the ship at a very high speed, and the captain had received more than five signals of the impending iceberg but ignored the signals (Schröder-Hinrichs, Hollnagel, and Baldauf, 2012). The captains noticed the icebergs too late to turn the ship around.

The Titanic ship hit the iceberg and started sinking. The boat was almost in the middle of the ocean hence seeking help proved to be hopeless. There were insufficient life-saving boats and life jackets in the boat to save everybody from drowning (Brown, McDonagh, and Shultz, 2013). Additional ships arrived too late when most people had sunk. The incident raised a lot of concerns, and various experts wondered why the boat had fewer rescue boats than passengers. Additionally, those individuals at the Very Important Persons (VIP) sections found the rescue services before the rest (Frey, Savage, and Torgler, 2011). The treatment raised questions for the unequal treatment of human beings.

The sinking of the Titanic was because it hit the iceberg (Flin, and O'Connor, 2017). The making of the ship was up to all required standards, and the ship could not have sunk due to any other reason. The other reason unrelated to the making of the vessel is the major captain of the ship. Mr. Smith propelled the Titan at high speeds in an area that contains many icebergs (Wagner, 2017). Additionally, this section of the sea was dark and the time was late into the night (Wagner, 2017). A lot of people died due to the lack necessary lifeboats for all people aboard (Shahriari, and Aydin, 2017). More than four theoretical accidental models explain the causes of accidents and how to prevent such incidences. This paper looks at the two unintentional models to describe the first accident.

The objective of the paper is to explore the Titanic accident. It analyzes both Haddon Matrix and Reason System of Safety Management utilizing these models to understand the problems that led to the Titanic accident. Additionally, the models enable individuals to avoid accidents in the future.

Haddon Matrix and Reason System of Safety Management

To obtain the appropriate information regarding the Titanic accident and scholarly sources are necessary. There are essential journals that narrate the accounts of the two occurrences from the background to the conclusion. However, incredible sources, which are not peer-reviewed, are irrelevant. The essentials of the two accidents are found in Pub-MED, BMJ, academic journals and scientific articles. The models used in the assignment are the Haddon Matrix and the Reason System of Safety Management Model. Credible information on the Haddon matrix is in the Australian Journal of Safety (Chung, and Cartmill, 2015). The sources of the System Model are the educational and scientific articles.

Regarding the Haddon model, it is critical to look at the background of the model. The history involves information about the individual who invented the matrix (Vriend, Gouttebarge, Finch, Van Mechelen, and Verhagen, 2017). The exact date of its establishment is also necessary. Moreover, an excellent article should enshrine the critical characteristics of the model. Of great importance is the relationship between the model and the two accidents. The accidental model theories should explain why the accident occurred. The matrix should also showcase the tapestry of failure within it. The information about the model should focus on its strengths. Additionally, a credible source should not forget about the possible weaknesses of the Haddon, Matrix model.

The Reason System of Safety Management Model is another accidental theory. A good source should explain the full meaning of the model. The article also describes why the model stands out above the rest in explaining the accidental scenarios (Helmreich, Klinect, and Wilhelm, 2017). Additionally, the model should describe the causes and remedies towards accidents. An excellent source of information should explain how the Systems Model is a preventive measure towards disasters. The paper uses credible academic articles that explore the failures of the system method. Moreover, a proper journal should major on the strong points of the model and Care is also necessary to include the weaknesses of the theory.

Reasons for choosing the Model

The Model was formulated by a health practitioner called William Haddon in the year 1971 (Bailey, Mahoney, Gabel, and Gielen, 2017). The model stands above the rest due to its ease of understanding and application. Additionally, the model is elaborate and explains the causes of accidents and the possible interventional measures to prevent future occurrences (Hume, Lorimer, Griffiths, Carlson, and Lamont, 2015).

Characteristics of the Model

Prevention of Accidents using the Models

The model outlines the strategies that pilots, captains, and motorists should follow to prevent accidents. It explains the environmental factors that lead to crashes as well as the human errors that lead to accidents (Schröder-Hinrichs, Hollnagel, and Baldauf, 2012). Haddon Matrix provides practical suggestions for avoiding accidents. The pattern acknowledges the fact that environmental factors are natural and that human beings cannot control them. Machine operators should understand the ecological factors and strategize on how to dodge their negative impacts (Alexander, Murphy, and Bender, 2016). The captains and drivers should control themselves when dealing with automobiles.

Explanation of the accident phenomenon

The first accident is that involving the sinking of the Titanic ship. The captains received more than five alerts of the impending icebergs however ignored these signals. The other cause of the accident is the high speed that the captains were employing in steering the ship (Duda, and Wawruch, 2017).  After the sinking had begun, the employees of the ship realized that the lifeboats were lacking in order to ferry everybody on board to safety. The passengers belonged to lower, middle and high class according to the spaces in the ship and during the rescue time, the first class passengers received the priority. Therefore, a majority of individuals in the other classes died following the sinking of the ship (Power, 2017). Citizens of the world questioned the treatment of the passengers and significant number of people urged that these people deserved equal treatment.

The Haddon model attempts to put the accident into perspective, scrutinizing the mistakes that led to the crash. The matrix also looks at the measures that the rescue team needed to take after the accident. Before the accident, the passengers and the captains of the Titanic should have considered human factors and the ships factors (Anparasan, and Lejeune, 2017).  Moreover, environmental factors need a great deal of consideration before, during and after an accident.

The Haddon theory starts by blaming the captains first for any accidental occurrence.  According to the Titanic story, the captains received more than five signals of an iceberg ahead yet ignored the calls. Haddon theory is therefore accurate in blaming the captains. Additionally, the high speed at which the ship was moving is also the responsibility of the captains (Murray, Watson, King, Pratt, and Darby, 2014). A low to moderate speed would have enhanced turning and avoiding of the iceberg.

Prior to a clash, the matrix requires the captains to assess valuable information. They should recognize the presences of icebergs in the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, they should understand the dangers of steering the ship at high speeds and therefore use low to moderate speeds (Murray et al., 2014). The government should enact laws to regulate the speeds of the ships and send inspection ships to monitor the movement of voyage ships. Whenever the captains sense impending danger, they should apply the brakes and endeavor to stop the flow of the transport body.

The Haddon Matrix proposes first-aid operations to the victims of the accident. Unfortunately, the Titanic was in the middle of the sea and could not be accessed by the rescue teams promptly. Health practitioners should be on board to assist accident victims; however, the Titanic did not have clinicians among its passengers. On the ship, Haddon suggests that it should have had a device that manages its speed (Murray et al., 2014). If the Titanic had appropriate speed regulatory equipment, it could not have hit the iceberg. Ships should have a robust braking system (Murray et al., 2014). The Titanic had a weak system hence could not avoid hitting the iceberg, thereby sink in the process.

The matrix indicates that there should be a maximum speed that captains should not exceed. The captains of the Titanic were over speeding hence directly causing the accident.  After a crash, a rescue team should be equipped to rescue victims from the scene of the crash. Additionally, the ship should have enough safety facilities in case of an eventuality. The Titanic had insufficient lifeboats, hence those who could not access the boats perished. The theory suggests that the ship should carry a practical number of passengers and avoid overloading (Murray et al., 2014). The Titanic at maximal capacity and therefore, the evacuation pieces of equipment were insufficient.

Tapestry of failure

The captains failed to recognize the signals of an impending iceberg. The signals came in more than five times; however, they were unable to interpret these. Additionally, the captains were steering the ship at very high speeds and therefore they could not reverse to avoid hitting the iceberg. The management of the boat failed to equip the ship with sufficient lifeboats (Murray et al., 2014). The administration also overloaded the ship; hence it could not remain afloat after hitting the iceberg.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the model

The model is all inclusive as it discusses the prevention of accidents at personal, ship, and environmental levels. It explains that every stakeholder has a role to play in the prevention of accidents (Murray et al., 2014). The weakness of the model is that it puts much emphasis on the captains however; the patients should take a share of the blame for numbers boarding an overloaded ship (Murray et al., 2014).

Reasons for choosing the model

The model explains the causes and prevention of accidents elaborately and conclusively. Moreover, it offers practical ways of dealing with eventualities (Wachter, and Yorio, 2014). The model is simple to understand and is an upgrade to other models such as the FRAM model (Wachter, and Yorio, 2014). The model explains the responsibility of everyone at the occurrence of an accident.

Explanation of crashes using the model

The model conclusively explains the causes of accidents and the preventive measures.  The Titanic accident was a failure of numerous stakeholders. The theory looks at the incident, the objectives and the possible prevention measures (Wiegmann, and Shappell, 2017). The model recognizes that an accident results from a combination of the environmental factors, individual variables, and the machinery (Ship). The model is an upgrade on the Haddon Matrix model, which mainly focuses on the captain (Wiegmann, and Shappell, 2017). The Haddon model places little emphasis on the other factors which the Systems Model explains in details.

The Systems Model explains that the interaction between the three variables is not a simple affair. Instead, the three combine into complexity hence emanating from accidents. On the other hand, the proper working relationship between the three can prevent the occurrence of accidents (Wiegmann, and Shappell, 2017). In the case study of the Titanic, the machinery, human variable (Captain), and the environmental factors disagree leading to the accident. The captains fail to recognize the numerous signals about an impending iceberg (Wiegmann, and Shappell, 2017). They also steer the ships at dangerous speeds. The rapid movement of the vessel prevented it from making a U-turn when it was approaching the iceberg.

The machinery in this scenario is the transport ship. The make-up of the motor lacks an efficient braking system. Thus, when approaching the iceberg, it fails to stop and turn around. Additionally, the ship requires an appropriate speed governor (Carayon et al., 2015). In case the vessel had a governor, the captains would have regulated the speed to avoid the accident. The environmental factor is the iceberg (Carayon et al., 2015). The captains should have used the radio sensors to determine the existence of an enormous ice body in front of the ship.

In case, all the systems are working in harmony, the possibilities of occurrence of an accident reduce. The ideal conditions require the captains to steer the ship at reasonably moderate speeds. Additionally, the boat should have a speed governor to control its movement. Moreover, the brake system should be efficient to make emergency stops if they arise. Environmental factors such as the icebergs cannot move from the paths of the ships (Carayon et al., 2015). The captains should detect the presence of such impediments and dodge them to be safe.

The System Model blames the occurrence of the Titanic accident on the environment, the ship, and the captains. A point of note is that the System Model switches attention from the captains to all stakeholders (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). The model notes that the captain is also affected when an accident occurs and hence cannot deliberately cause an accident. However, the lack of speed limits and the absence of a supervising ship tempt the captains to over speed (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). Therefore, the government should introduce speed governors on voyage ships. Additionally, surveillance ships are necessary to monitor the speed of passenger ships. If the government takes all those precautionary measures, then the number of marine accidents reduces.

The System Model suggests that all marine passengers should wear floaters. In case of any eventuality, they are safe. The system model uplifts the blame from the captains since they are humans and undoubtedly vulnerable to mistakes. The model is right in that the aftermath of the sinking led to the deaths (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). The blame should lie on the management of the ship. Firstly, the ship lacked enough lifeboats to ferry all the passengers out of the sinking ship to safer grounds (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). Secondly, the builders of the boat did not engage the speed governor in regulating the speed (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). Thirdly, the braking system was not sharp enough to institute emergency stops.

The model emphasizes the effects of the accident but not the reasons for the occurrence of the crash.  Once an accident has happened, the most critical issue is to curb the negative consequences. The safety team can do little about what caused the crash.  The results of an accident are deaths and injuries (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). Instead of blaming the captains for the accidents, the rescue teams should look for ways of minimizing injuries and deaths. The model believes that the government has little to do in altering the activities of the captains. In the middle of the sea, there are no government agencies to monitor the captains. The government should only introduce speed governors to voyage ships (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). Additionally, the corporations that build ships should insert an efficient braking system.

Tapestry of failure

The sinking of the vessel resulted from the inability of the captains to recognize the iceberg signals and respond promptly. Additionally, the ship lacked an efficient braking system to make emergency stops (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). Moreover, the lifeboats were insufficient to ferry all the passengers on board to safer grounds.

Strengths and weaknesses of the model

The model is simple to understand. The theoretical basis is an upgrade to the Haddon Matrix Model. However, the model clears the captains of any wrongdoings (Underwood, and Waterson, 2014). The captains should take responsibility for the high speeds.


The sinking of the Titanic occurred many ago. Flash forward, the model of Haddon and Safety System Model explains the accident. The first cause of the crash is the failure of the captains to heed the call of the radio signals. The captains failed to detect over five signals indicating the existence of an iceberg ahead. Additionally, the captains were steering the ship at very high speeds. Following the accident, the ship lacked adequate numbers of lifeboats to ferry the passengers on board to safer grounds. The three classes of passengers received different treatment during the rescue process. The first class passengers accessed the lifeboats first followed by the other two categories. This blatant discrimination led to the death of most individuals in the classes other than the first class. The ship also lacked an appropriate speed governor and hence could not regulate the speed of its motions.

The ship lacked an adequate braking system preventing it from achieving sharp stops. The Haddon matrix model blames the captains for the high speed that led to the accident. The model, however, does explore the human, machinery and environmental determinants in case of a crash. The model further suggests that the captain should have had prior information of the impending iceberg. It suggests an elaborate first aid system to attend to victims of an accident. Additionally, it insists on the need for an adequate brake and speed governor for automobiles. The rescue resources should also be appropriate. Alternatively, The Systems Model shifts the blame for the accident from the captains to all stakeholders. It suggests that adequate concentration is necessary when tackling the consequences of a crash rather than focusing on the causes of the accident. The System Model is an upgrade to the Haddon model.


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