Rock Climbing – Could Swiss Cheese save your life?

headerimage_scIn a former life I worked for an Air Traffic Control service provider, producing training software for Air Traffic Controllers. Like rock climbing, ATC’s have a lot riding on the line, namely other people’s lives. So they take safety and risk avoidance very, very seriously and put alot of time into studying and perfecting accident avoidance systems.

It was here that I was introduced to the Swiss Cheese Model of accident causation. The concept is that between any potential hazard and accident there is a series of steps or layers. Each of these layers has a series of systemic flaws or holes that, given the right circumstances, allow access through to the next layer (Swiss Cheese). If a number of these, sometimes seemly unrelated, holes line up you end with a catastrophic accident.

Continue reading

Snake Bite! – What happens, when it really happens Pt.1


It’s a nice summer’s day, you are walking into the crag, having a good time and chatting with your friends when BAM! You look down and you get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as a scaley tail disapears into the underbrush. Did that really just happen? Heck, you probably didn’t even get a good look at it.

If this happened in your backyard, you would sit tight, call an ambulance or get someone to drive you to the emergency room, no problem. But what do you do if you are an hour’s walkout, uphill of the crag you are at? What if you are a day out, with no phone reception? Worse still, what if you fall into one of the above scenarios and you are on holidays in foreign country and you don’t really speak the language?

Continue reading