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Safety culture as a rational myth: why developing safety culture implies engineering resilience?

Abstract : Work on resilience engineering has stimulated an ever growing interest illustrated by the increasing number of publications on the subject. While at the same time, the older notion of safety culture continues to interest scientists and practitioners. The purpose of this article is to build a managerial approach of safety culture which takes in resilience engineering. It first describes the epistemological background of this approach based on intervention-research. This aims at introducing the notion of "rational myth" that describes the principles on which organized action bases itself at a given time. Secondly, the article identifies and presents three managerial principles on which risk mastering is centered: the principle of responsibility, the principle of anticipation and the principle of resilience. It then shows that the notion of safety culture as historically defined after the Chernobyl disaster and taken into account by managers can be analyzed as a rational myth for risk mastering including these three principles. It illustrates this by an example taken from an intervention led in partnership with the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis. The article finally concludes that developing safety culture is more adapted to risk mastering principles than engineering resilience.
Mots-clés : resilience safety
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  • HAL Id : hal-00637886, version 1

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François-Régis Chevreau. Safety culture as a rational myth: why developing safety culture implies engineering resilience?. 2nd Symposium on Resilience Engineering, Nov 2006, Juan-les-Pins, France. 11 p. ⟨hal-00637886⟩

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