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Cost accounting


I agree with your editorial about the Hatfield crash (NCE 15 September); and disagree wholeheartedly with the letter from Joe Colgan.

Why try to find an individual responsible for a disaster or accident when, as your correspondent admits, 'the system failed'- If the system failed, the management may be responsible for that failure, so management should be improved. Trying to increase accountability even further will only make it easier for management to blame their foot-soldiers.

It will make it even more difficult to get agreement to designs which are in any way unique. After all, why should a mid-ranking engineer agree anything which does not go exactly by the book, or is not even in the book?

It is likely that all of the following share some responsibility for the Hatfield crash: Politicians who thought up the privatisation of British Rail; taxpayers who did not want to subsidise railways;

accountants who squeezed resources; the engineers who learned to live with a lack of resources.

Let us stand up against cost cutting politicians and learn from our mistakes and those of others.

Alistair J Muir (M), alistair.muir@blueyonder. co. uk

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