The criminalization of human error in aviation and healthcare: A review
This review explores the social causes and psychological and organizational consequences of the criminalization of human error in aviation and healthcare. Increasing prevalence of criminal prosecution is seen as a threat to the health and safety of employees and entire safety-critical systems in many industries, but initiatives to counter or mitigate the trend are local and haphazard. Social causes such as a greater societal risk consciousness and intolerance of failure are examined, as well as organizational consequences for disclosure and incident reporting. Psychological consequences of the criminalization of human error are evaluated in terms of employee ill-health, an area that is under-investigated. The criminalization of professional mistakes seems to be an increasingly prevalent phenomenon at the intersection of safety work, sociology, criminology and legal as well as social justice. This paper reviews possible research directions into the criminalization of professional mistake in aviation and healthcare, in the hope of stimulating debate and eventually legitimating it as a topic of study in its own right.
Causes and Prevention of Crime