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Management of Safety and Technical Risks

Program/Project Management Resource List #54

Revised Feb. 2012

Provided by the NASA Headquarters Library

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman, in app. F of the Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident

Flight, whether in or out of the Earth's atmosphere, is a dangerous business. However, when appropriate measures are taken in building the craft and training the crew, the dangers can be minimized. This resource list covers finding and measuring technical risk and different perceptions of technical risk. These perceptions are often guided by cultural biases towards what is or isn't dangerous, which in turn depend upon how well the accumulated experiences of earlier engineers and technicians have been passed along to the current generation. You may also find useful resources in our webpages on American Human Spaceflight Accidents, Corporate Culture, Ethics in the Workplace, Knowledge Management, Quality Management, and Aviation Safety. A separate resource list, Project Risk Management, covers project risk, the possibility that a project could go over budget or run late.

All items are available at the Headquarters Library, except as noted. NASA Headquarters employees and contractors: Call x0168 or email for information on borrowing or in-library use of any of these items. Members of the public: Contact your local library for the availability of these items. NASA Headquarters employees can request additional materials or research on this topic. The Library welcomes your comments or suggestions about this webpage.

Contents: Policies Books E-books Articles and Reports Internet Resources

NASA Policies

The policies and procedures governing NASA technical risk and safety management are found in the Program Management section of the NASA Online Directives Information System, especially in subsection 8700. The Procedural Handbook for NASA Program and Project Management of Problems, Nonconformances, and Anomalies and other handbooks and stadards are available to NASA civil servants, contractors, and members of the public through NASA's Standards and Technical Assistance Resource Tool.


Antonsen, Sian. Safety Culture: Theory, Method, and Improvement. Farnham, Surrey, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009. ISBN: 9780754676959
HD7261 .A58 2009 BOOKSTACKS
Bedford, Tim, et al. Historical Explorations - Learning Lessons From the Past to Inform the Future. Glasgow, Scotland: Dept. of Management Science, University of Strathclyde, 2008.
HD61 .B444 H578 2008 BOOKSTACKS
Available online at:
Childers, Frank M. History of Reliability and Quality Assurance at Kennedy Space Center. Kennedy Space Center, 2004.
TL521.312.K1 C45 2004 BOOKSTACKS
Available online through NTRS as document no. 20110015654.
Dietrich, Rainer, and Kateri Jochum (eds.). Teaming Up: Components of Safety Under High Risk. Aldershot, Hants, England; Burlington, VT, USA: Ashgate, 2004. ISBN: 0754634353
T55 .T33 2004 BOOKSTACKS
Hafey, Robert B. Lean Safety: Transforming Your Safety Culture with Team Management. Boca Raton, FL: Productivity Press, 2010. ISBN: 9781439816424
TS183 .H34 2010 BOOKSTACKS
Harland, David M., and Ralph D. Lorenz. Space System Failures: Disasters and Rescues of Satellites, Rockets, and Space Probes. Chichester, UK: Praxis Publishing, 2005. ISBN: 0387215190
TL521 .H37 2005 BOOKSTACKS
Hollnagel, Erik. Barriers and Accident Prevention. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004. ISBN: 0754643018
T55 .H65 2004 BOOKSTACKS
Longnecker, David E., and Ricardo A. Molins (eds.). A Risk Reduction Strategy for Human Exploration of Space: A Review of NASA's Bioastronautics Roadmap. Washington, DC : National Academies Press, 2006. ISBN: 030909948X
RC1135 .R57 2006 BOOKSTACKS
Available to the general public through the National Academies Press.
McSween, Terry E. Value-based Safety-process: Improving Your Safety Culture with Behavior-based Safety. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Interscience, 2003. ISBN: 0471220493
HD7261 .M38 2003 BOOKSTACKS
Miller, Susan Burgess. Lessons Learned or Lessons Noted: A Retrospective Case Study of the Stored Organizational Memory of the Causes of Mishaps in NASA. Thesis (Ed.D.)--George Washington University, 2005.
TL521.3 .L47 2005 PPM-STACKS
Misra, Krishna B. Handbook of Performability Engineering. London, UK: Springer, 2008. ISBN: 9781848001305
TA169 .H356 2008 BOOKSTACKS
Pham, Hoang. Handbook of Reliability Engineering. London; New York: Springer, 2003. ISBN: 1852334533
TA169 .H35 2003 BOOKSTACKS
Phimister, James R., Vicki M. Bier, and Howard C. Kunreuther (eds.). Accident Precursor Analysis and Management: Reducing Technological Risk Through Diligence. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2004. ISBN: 0309092167
T55 .A25 2004 BOOKSTACKS
Available to the general public through the National Academies Press.
Sauer, Beverly J. The Rhetoric of Risk: Technical Documentation in Hazardous Environments. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates, 2003. ISBN: 0805836853
T10.68 .S38 2003 BOOKSTACKS


All e-books listed here are available to NASA civil servants and contractors through the Books 24x7 service of SATERN.
Abkowitz, Mark D. Operational Risk Management: A Case Study Approach to Effective Planning and Response. John Wiley and Sons, 2008.
Branscomb, Lewis M. Taking Technical Risks: How Innovators, Executives, and Investors Manage High-Tech Risks. The MIT Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780262024907
Hubbard, Douglas W. The Failure of Risk Management: Why It's Broken and How to Fix It. John Wiley & Sons, 2009. ISBN:9780470387955
J.J. Keller & Associates. Workplace Safety In Action: Safety Committees. J.J. Keller, 2010. ISBN: 9781590424933
Krause, Thomas R. Leading with Safety. John Wiley & Sons, 2005. ISBN: 9780471494256
Vincoli, Jeffrey W. Basic Guide to System Safety, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2006. ISBN:9780471722410

Articles and Reports

Bay, Michael, and Warren Connley. "How Systems Engineering and Risk Management Defend Against Murphy's Law and Human Error", in: Space Systems Engineering and Risk Management, Manhattan Beach, CA, 2004.
(20040079821: (2004) NTRS)
Dezfuli, Homayoon, et al. NASA Risk Management Handbook. NASA/SP-2011-3422. NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., Nov. 2011.
(20120000033: (2012) NTRS)
Johnson, Paul W. "NASA's Computer Database Program for System Safety Risk Management Oversight", in: International System Safety Regional Conference, Singapore, April 21-23, 2008.
(20080030091: (April 2008) NTRS)
Lengyel, David M., and J.S. Newman. "Managing Risk on the Final Frontier", Journal of Risk and Knowledge Management, vol. I (Oct. 2009), p. 1-4.
Available online as document no. 20090040702 through NTRS
Pruessner, Paula S., and Ming Li. Reliability Practice at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, 2008.
(20080045416: (Nov. 2008) NTRS)
Youngblood, Robert, Homayoon Dezfuli, and Nathan Siu. "PRA in Design: Increasing Confidence in Pre-Operational Assessments of Risks (Results of a Joint NASA/NRC Workshop)", in: 10th International Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management Conference, Seattle, WA, June 7-11, 2010.
(20100021223: (June 2010) NTRS)

Internet Resources

American Society of Safety Engineers. 2012 [Feb. 24, 2012].
Anderson, Linda. NASA Engineering and Safety Center. Feb. 7, 2012 [Feb. 24, 2012].
Board of Certified Safety Professionals. 2011 [Feb. 24, 2012].
Follen, Brian. NASA Safety Center. April 7, 2010 [April 8, 2010].
International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety. 2010 [Feb. 24, 2012].
International Space Safety Foundation. April 22, 2011 [Feb. 24, 2012]
NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. Feb. 23, 2012 [Feb. 24, 2012].
NASA Safety Reporting System. July 28, 2010 [Feb. 24, 2012].
Scott, Matt. Ask Magazine Archive. Risk. July 21, 2011 [Feb. 24, 2012].
Shipman, Jon. Human Research Roadmap: A Risk Reduction Strategy for Human Space Exploration. 2011 [Feb. 24, 2012].
Wilcutt, Terrence W. Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. Aug. 31, 2011 [Feb. 24, 2012].
Wilson, Jim. Independent Program Assessment Office. Feb. 22, 2012 [Feb. 24, 2012].

Last Updated: Feb. 2012