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The Dirty Dozen

Human error is estimated to cost over 3.5% of business turnover worldwide. There are three industries that are considered to be the highest risk.  They are Health, Nuclear, and Naval Aviation.  I had the pleasure of being in the audience of a Red Arrow’s pilot a few years ago and his top tip was the briefing detail that took place after every flight to discuss what went well as much as what did not.

images-2The aviation industry is the most rigorous in debriefing and searching out the causes of errors – this is partly due to the cost of stand down.  The cost of an engine shutdown, for example results in $10,000 per hour of flight delay and for every flight cancellation the average cost is $50,000.  50% of these are maintenance errors.

Over 9 years there have been only 39 airline aircraft accidents.  It remains the safest way to travel, however 49% involved error due to airline maintenance/inspection policy in other word this is purely down to human error.  The ultimate end result for 1,429 fatalities.

What is the cost of human error to your business? If the error rate is at best 3.5% in the highly regulated airline industry then we might assume at best it will be 5% of turnover.

Turnover £ – Loss per annum

100k – £5,000

250k – £12,500

1m – £50,000

This works out at about 2 to 3 weeks work a year just from avoidable human errors.  There are 12 proven causes of all human errors.  Interesting?  As all are what we might term common sense.

“The Dirty Dozen”

  1. Communications
  2. Complacency
  3. Lack of Knowledge
  4. Distraction
  5. Lack of Teamwork
  6. Fatigue
  7. Lack of resources
  8. Pressure
  9. Lack of assertiveness
  10. Stress
  11. Lack of awareness
  12. Norms

There are four considerations to take when looking at each activity that you do in your business: 1.  the actions 2.  the value of actions 3.  whether to change 4.  whether to continue?

Mistakes are expensive, however most mistakes are avoidable and they are your chance to learn and improve and make more money.  Debriefing is about learning from mistakes … or in the words of Paul D’Arcy “Experience is … the cock ups we got away with”

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