What lies beneath: attention lessons for risk managers

Allowing seemingly irrelevant problems to fester can lead to catastrophe


Few accidents have left a more pertinent imprint on recent history than the sinking of RMS Titanic in April 1912. The story has been told and retold in books, songs, movies and academic dissertations. It seems that with each retelling new facts spring from the depths of the Atlantic, even more than a century after the event.

Every engineer knows that most serious industrial accidents cannot be attributed to a single cause: they happen through a cascade of related, self-reinforcing events. This