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RE: Weak Rivets...etc.

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I guess the issue with Professor Astaneh-Asl, is that his media appearances tend to perpetuate the myth that engineers can make things safe, that stronger is safer, and that bigger is stronger. All of which are false as a general rule. Variation is an inherent part of all systems, and uncertainty and risk have to be accepted. As Donald indicated … [we] need to accept it in order to function.


Louis Napoleon said: “New inventions have to remain undiscovered until the common intellect rises to comprehend them”


I believe that with the spread of QA amongst organizations, that more people are open to discussions of variation, uncertainty and risk. Further more all kinds of organizations are attempting to find the key causes of variation and design robust systems which maintain an acceptable level of performance in the presence of such variation. That is organizations are doing what scientist Mike suggests.


What would be helpful is if persons with a privileged position in the public eye like Professor Astaneh-Asl, were able to develop both the media’s and publics understanding of risk and our dependence on technological systems. Admittedly difficult when issues of corruption sells more papers.


From a QA perspective finding someone to blame doesn’t solve the problem, and won’t prevent the problem recurring. Though should avoid developing a situation where it is always a system fault and no one is responsible for anything.


Professor Astaneh-Asl mentioned something about being able to openly discuss defects and errors, so as to be able to foster improved design. In the UK they have a standing committee on structural safety SCOSS, which administers a website for the confidential reporting on structural safety CROSS. (there is also a Scottish version)


Here in Australia the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) has a website where industry safety alerts are issued with respect to workshop and site safety: or lack off.


Whilst in SA, the OHS&W organization publishes hazard alerts on their website; it also publishes convictions and fines issued on the website.


What we lack here in Australia is something similar to the annual report by SCOSS which identifies defects on the design side responsible for defects in the finished construction.


Maybe Professor Astaneh-Asl could help develop a version of CROSS with a more international scope, and more interactive like SEAint.



Conrad Harrison

B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust



South Australia