February 8, 2011 | Mark Paradies

Luge Accident Returns to the News

What is “management’s” responsibility? Especially when technical experts (in this case a sport’s federation) sign off on the design? That’s the controversy that confronts us after an accident killed a luge event participant.

Here’s the CNN story that provides the details:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/02/07/canada.luge.death/index.html

The head of the Olympics organizing committee said:

“Our job is to do what they ask us to do. They signed off and said the track was ready.

The article also says:

In its own report on Kumaritashvili’s death, the International Luge Federation called the accident ‘unforeseeable,’ adding that a complex series of events led to the tragedy, including pilot error.

By the e-mail train, it looks like the accident was foreseen. Not onlt that, they had the lawyers look at it.

Seems like less lawyers and more safety emphasis could have been applied. Perhaps they need safety standards for Olympic sports based on reasonable hazard assessments, human factors, and safety engineering principles.  Add to that some advanced root cause analysis training so that after an accident, they could do a real investigation instead of an investigation that appear to be an excuse for poor design and inadequate foresight.

Here are links to previous Root Cause Analysis Blog articles about the accident:

Here’s the Un-Cut ABC Footage of the Fatal Luge Accident

“Probe Completed” in Luge Accident

Bogus Investigation into Luger Death

The public really shouldn’t stand for unsafe design of facilities and bogus accident investigations. Please leave your comment here if you agree (or disagree).

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