John C. Burnham


On his book Accident Prone: A History of Technology, Psychology, and Misfits of the Machine Age

Cover Interview of November 18, 2009

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“Pioneering the field of the history of accidents.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“Little did the late-twentieth-century engineers, safety experts, and human factors psychologists realize that they were part of a general social shift as technology came to be the dominant social framework, determining styles of thinking and problem solving.”

On the second:

“What nobody talks about is the radical egalitarianism underlying the engineering of safety.  It certainly was never the conscious intention of the engineers who were creating safe environments and devices to make everyone equal in terms of safety, regardless of gender, social status or identification.”