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What Is Learning? A Review of the Safety Literature to Define Learning from Incidents, Accidents and Disasters



Learning from incidents, accidents and disasters contributes to improvement of safety and the prevention of unwanted events. In this review, literature on learning from safety incidents within organizations is studied and compared with the organizational learning theory of Argyris and Schön. Sub-processes, such as learning lessons, sharing, storing and applying lessons, are described, and factors that influence these processes are listed, such as trust, the severity of the consequences of an incident and the people involved in learning. In comparison with the theory of Argyris and Schön, aspects about the information to learn from, i.e., the incident and analysis, are much more specified in the safety literature. However, the organizational learning theory gives more details about the earlier mentioned sub-processes.