Why I Teach: Shawn Pruchnicki

In this series, Fire Engineering Senior Editor Mary Jane Dittmar looks at the things that motivated and inspired instructors to present on their topics at FDIC International 2016. Segments will be posted on a regular basis up to and through the conference, April 18-23.

Shawn Pruchnicki

Faculty, Ohio State University

Using Human Error as a Tool to Build a Safety Culture

Tuesday, April 19, 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.


My primary motivation is that my working across many domains will enable me to help students to better understand human error, thus resulting in better investigations and recommendations after an incident. As a former paramedic/firefighter, airline pilot, and practicing emergency medicine pharmacist (toxicology), I have seen the devastating results and lost opportunities and leverage for change that poorly performed post-incident investigations can cause. They only serve to place blame on the humans involved and have no consideration for the normal nature of normal work and how the complexity of systems can result in large surprising outcomes that greatly exceed the “errors” that were made.

If we are going to produce meaningful recommendations, we must craft meaningful investigations that are sensitive to the normal nature of work. No one comes to work to die, and the choices they make are based on far less information than what we have in hindsight during an incident investigation. Their choices should be viewed on what they actually knew during the operation, not on what is known in hindsight.

The most optimal effect I hope this workshop will achieve is that the fire service will follow the lead of other safety-sensitive domains, such as aviation, that have carved a path through the darkness and are willing to explore new methods in understanding why sometimes it all goes wrong. This is the first time this course is offered at FDIC. 

Previous articleWhy I Teach: Ron Kanterman
Next articleWhy I Teach: Becki White

No posts to display