Is 'human error' ever acceptable as a cause?
Just a couple of observations.
What came to my mind was the Challenger incident. Was this not human error? The NASA management over ruled the engineers who had doubts about the cold weather and the 'O' rings that eventually failed, alternatively the engineers didn't speak up load enough!
And again in the Gulf of Mexico incident, was it not people, at all levels, who ignored the the tell tale signs staring them in the face?
I often use this quote when speaking to groups.
“Everyone, and that includes you and me, is at times careless, complacent, overconfident and stubborn. At times, each of us becomes distracted, inattentive, bored and fatigued. We occasionally take chances, we misunderstand, we misinterpret and we misread. These are completely human characteristics. Because we are human and because of all of these traits are fundamental and built into each of us, the equipment, machines and systems that we construct for our use have to be made to accommodate us the way we are, and not vice versa.” (Chapanis, 1985)
It doesn't excuse workers, nor does it excuse PCBU's (who are actually humans as well).
The reality is that we ARE human and sometimes we stuff up!
Keep up the good work.