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A Re-Introduction to Error Prevention

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

It's been a few years since we updated our introductory video and we decided it was time for a refresh. Jay wrote a great script and we are working on the production so I thought we'd go ahead publish a sneak preview of what it's all about for you below.

It can be difficult to describe Error Prevention Training. Many people think we say “Air Prevention,” which is definitely not something anybody wants! Once we clarify it is “error” prevention training, they act very puzzled, saying “What is that?” or “How can you do that?” in an incredulous tone of voice.

When they get the basic idea that we are teaching people how not to screw up, they typically assume it must be industry specific, and they ask us what types of jobs we teach about.

We explain that it is for everyone, and since 1990 we have trained a wide range of organizations, including all branches of the US Military, the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, all 15,000 employees of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and a small dentist office.

People also use Error Prevention Training in their personal lives to avoid both the little mistakes, like having to go back to the store for something they forgot; and the big mistakes that can cost thousands of dollars. We have even had people tell us we have saved their lives, including an F-14 Tomcat Radar Intercept Officer and a person working on a home project.


The simple fact is that everyone makes mistakes – in a way, it is the human condition. Every day we forget something, make a wrong turn, break something, or take an unnecessary risk. The reasons we do this, what we call Traps, are the same for everyone—things like being tired, in a hurry, feeling pressured, upset, or not listening carefully.


These are some of the Traps of basic human nature that lead to the mistakes we make. Our course covers over twenty of these Traps. Just learning about these Traps and giving them names helps us to recognize when they are working, but we go beyond that, and provide 20 Tools that we can use to avoid or deal with each trap.


With all the management courses available these days, it is certainly valid to ask if there is anything that makes Error Prevention Training special.

First – it works! Across the board, organizations that keep detailed records —such as the US Navy and Lockheed Martin—have experienced around an 80% reduction in serious mistakes, incidents and accidents, usually in the first two or three years.

Second – no fluff! Many courses take hours to present information that could be covered in just a few minutes, and leave people scratching their heads about what they are actually supposed to do. Error Prevention Training provides practical tools that people begin to use immediately after the training. We have actually had people come back the day after they received the training to say what a big difference it had already made for them.

Third – while Error Prevention Training is focused on reducing mistakes, incidents and accidents, people find that the Tools of Error Prevention help them be more effective in whatever they are doing, at work and at home. One senior executive with a PhD in management even said that this was “the best approach to leadership training he had ever experienced.”

Fourth – it doesn’t conflict with other quality or safety approaches, but helps them to be more effective too.


The course is divided into six 30 minutes modules that each cover a critical aspect of Error Prevention:

Error Prevention Training

1. Error Prevention Basics - The first module introduces some of the most important tools of Error Prevention so you can start using them right away.

2. What’s Your Attitude? – Teaches about hazardous attitudes and special situations that often impact both individual and team performance.

3. How’s Your Stuff? – Will help you assess your own and your team or family members fatigue and/or stress levels, and suggests appropriate ways to respond.

4. Working Together Effectively – Whether you are building and launching a multi-billion-dollar satellite or planning a family vacation, this module identifies traps inherent in human interactions, and provides tools to deal with those traps.

5. What’s Your Situation – The ultimate effect of the Hazardous Attitudes, Fatigue, Stress, or Poor Communication is often a loss of Situational Awareness. In this module you will learn how to avoid losing Situational Awareness, and what to do if you sense that you have lost Situational Awareness.

6. Good Decision Making – Almost every incident or accident is the result of a series of poor decisions, referred to as an Accident Chain. You will learn a simple method to include everyone in a decision, ensure everybody expresses their concerns and how to respond when a problem is identified.

Well that's the intro to the intro. Our new video will go on to discuss how to implement your own Error Prevention program and how to maintain it so that it becomes an integral part of your culture. Let us know if you have any suggestions or lessons learned from your own journey through error prevention, quality and human effectiveness.

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