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Water Res. 2009 Jul;43(13):3227-38. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.04.040. Epub 2009 May 5.

A role for human reliability analysis (HRA) in preventing drinking water incidents and securing safe drinking water.

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Cranfield University, Centre for Water Science, School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK.


The prevalence of water quality incidents and disease outbreaks suggests an imperative to analyse and understand the roles of operators and organisations in the water supply system. One means considered in this paper is through human reliability analysis (HRA). We classify the human errors contributing to 62 drinking water accidents occurring in affluent countries from 1974 to 2001; define the lifecycle of these incidents; and adapt Reason's 'Swiss cheese' model for drinking water safety. We discuss the role of HRA in human error reduction and drinking water safety and propose a future research agenda for human error reduction in the water sector.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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