Inviting Disaster by James Chiles
It's funny how a lot of these books treat Disasters as mitigatable, and offer their armchair insights. I guess that sells more books than telling people to be paranoid and prepare to die.
To analogize, the more time you put into learning a martial art, the more you learn to avoid situations that just look bad.
"When has an accident occurred which has not had a precursor incident?" asks C. O. Miller, retired chief of NTSB's Aviation Safety Bureau.
Next, I have to stop and give a full moment to praise Admiral Rickover:
Unless he (Admiral Rickover) was seriously ill he embarked on every nuclear submarine's initial sea trials, figuring that if a badly brazed piping joint broke at test depth he should be on hand to accept the consequences.
No one is without faults, however his insistence on personal responsibility with a huge downside was eminently and powerfully correct. It's a scathing indictment that we don't see this more often nowadays.
During the years between 1816 and 1848, 233 explosions on American steamboats ahd killed more than two thousand people. As English visitor Philip Hone said, steam had apparently arrived just in time to take the place of war.
Part of the trick in high-fear situations is knowing what needs to be done immediately, what can wait, and which actions cannot be reversed after second thoughts.
... you could well ask why anyone would accept these kind of risks when other safer jobs are available. One reason I'd offer, from my days helping my two brothers blast out an excavation site with high explosives, is that it clears the mind. I found it refreshing to work with something so devoid of foolishness.( and to work with people so devoid of foolishness )