System safety is a risk management strategy based on identification, analysis of hazards and the application of remedial controls using a systems-based approach.
This is a somewhat different approach from traditional safety strategies that rely on control of conditions and causes of an accident.
The concept of system safety is useful in demonstrating adequacy of technologies when difficulties are faced with probabilistic risk analysis. The underlying principle is one of synergy: a whole is more than sum of its parts.
The system safety approach is a planned integrated and comprehensive engineering effort that establishes the constants that are employed throughout execution of the program, defines roles and responsibilities, describes how the system safety methodology is integrated into the larger systems engineering process for the acquisition program, and identifies requirements for the system.
The minimum requirements for the approach include describing the risk management effort and how the program is integrating risk management into the systems engineering process, the Integrated Product Development process, and the overall program management structure.
System safety also involves identifying and documenting the prescribed and derived requirements applicable to the system; describing the process for inclusion of ESOH derived requirements in system specifications and the flow-down of applicable requirements to subcontractors, vendors and suppliers; and defining how risks are formally accepted by the appropriate risk acceptance authority.
The need for system safety and the methods it employs are driven by many factors, including the high cost of testing, which limits the ability to rely on test-fail-fix strategies of safe system development and drives reliance on analytical results.
Another factor is increasing system complexity, which makes it necessary to leverage both traditional and modern hazard evaluation mechanisms in order to identify and analyze comprehensively the full set of credible scenarios that have the potential to lead to adverse safety consequences, considering all hazard causes and propagation pathways through the system.
Additionally, the need for system safety is driven by the development of systems that operate at the edge of engineering capability, requiring a high degree of discipline in system realization and system operation management and oversight.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers System Safety courses, which cover important system safety concepts and techniques used in planning, designing, implementing, testing and operating safety-critical systems.
Participants learn about fundamental concepts of system safety engineering, systems safety control, nature of risk, accident and human error models, causes of accidents, system hazard analysis, designing for safety, fault tolerance, safety issues in the design of human-machine interaction, verification of safety, creating a safety culture, and management of safety-critical projects.
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