Analyzes the social side of technological risk. The author argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety - building in more warnings and safeguards - fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of accidents. By recognizing two dimensions of risk - complex versus linear interactions, and tight versus loose coupling, this book provides a framework for analyzing risks and the organizations that insist we run them.
Contents: Abnormal Blessings -- 1. Normal Accident at Three Mile Island -- 2. Nuclear Power as a High-Risk System: Why We Have Not Had More TMIs - But Will Soon -- 3. Complexity, Coupling, and Catastrophe -- 4. Petrochemical Plants -- 5. Aircraft and Airways -- 6. Marine Accidents -- 7. Earthbound Systems: Dams, Quakes, Mines, and Lakes -- 8. Exotics: Space, Weapons, and DNA -- 9. Living with High-Risk Systems -- Postscript: The Y2K Problem.