Check your work and tell Mr. Murphy to give it a rest


“If something can go wrong, it will.” This is a Murphy’s Law which gets quoted whenever there is some unforeseen failure. A fatalistic ode to inevitability.

Some good researchers from Canada have decided to prove Murphy’s Law wrong. They are proving the unscientific excuse for errors faulty by showing that the introduction of verification and checking procedures can improve results turning the “law” on its head.

Engineer Franz Knoll of Nicolet Chartrand Knoll Ltd, based in Montreal, writes that faults and flaws in any industrial product almost always originates from human error, through lack of attention, communication, or competence. Humans don’t like to admit mistakes, however, and invoke all kinds of excuses to explain their own errors. Hello Mr. Murphy.

Knoll points out that scientific testing and analysis are increasingly leaving little room for technological errors. Even natural events can be quantified and the probabilities of their occurrence are predictable. It remains human error that lead to the worst outcomes during and after catastrophes.

They looked at building construction as an example. “In the pursuit of quality in building in the sense of an absence of serious flaws, a targeted strategy for the apprehension and correction of human errors is of the essence,” Knoll says. What she suggests – which is equally true for building a highrise or presenting a proposal to management – is to check and double check. Do not succumb to pressure for time or budget. Ask an objective person to check and double check important work. Additionally, make sure the dictates and demands of the project are being met. Many times the goal of the project gets lost or slightly redefined in the process making the outcome insignificant.

Maybe for 2012 we can call on Mr. Murphy a little less with the guidelines.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, International Journal of Reliability and Safety


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