Categories
Mil-Std-882E Safety Analysis

Operating & Support Hazard Analysis

In this full-length session, I look at Operating & Support Hazard Analysis, or O&SHA, which is Task 206 in Mil-Std-882E. I explore Task 206’s aim, description, scope, and contracting requirements.

There’s value-adding commentary, which explains O&SHA: how to use it with other tasks; how to apply it effectively on different products; and some of the pitfalls to avoid. This is based on my 25 years in system safety and my background in operations and maintenance.

I also refer to other lessons for specific tools and techniques, such as Human Factors analysis methods.

This is the seven-minute-long demo. The full version is about 35 minutes long.

Operating & Support Hazard Analysis: Topics

  • Task 206 Purpose:
    • To identify and assess hazards introduced by O&S activities and procedures;
    • To evaluate the adequacy of O&S procedures, facilities, processes, and equipment used to mitigate risks associated with identified hazards.
  • Task Description (six slides);
  • Reporting (two slides);
  • Contracting (two slides); and
  • Commentary (four slides).

Operating & Support Hazard Analysis: Transcript

Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to the Safety Artisan; home of safety engineering training. I’m Simon and today we’re going to be carrying on with our series on Mil. Standard 882E system safety engineering.

Operating & Support Hazard Analysis

Today, we’re going to be moving on to the subject of operating and support hazard analysis. This is, as it says, task 206 under the standard. Operating and support hazard analysis, I’ll just call it O&S or OSHA (also O&SHA) for short. Unfortunately, that will confuse people if I call OSHA. Let’s call it O&S.

Topics for this Session

The purpose of O&S hazard analysis is to identify and assess hazards introduced by those activities and procedures and to evaluate the adequacy of O&S procedures, processes, equipment, facilities, etc, to mitigate risks that have been already identified. A twofold task but a very big task. And as we’ll see, we’ve got lots of slides today on task description, and reporting, contracting, and commentary. As always, I present the full text as is of the task, which is copyright free, but I’m only going to talk about the things that are important. So, we’re not going to go through every little clause of the standard that would be pointless.

O&S Hazard Analysis (T206)

Let’s get started with the purpose. As we’ve already said, it’s to identify and assess those hazards which are introduced by operational and support activities and procedures and evaluate their adequacy. So, we’re looking at operating the system, whatever it may be- And of course, this is a military standard, so we assume a military system, but not all military systems are weapon systems by any means. Not all are physical systems.

There may be inventory management systems, management information systems, all kinds of stuff. So, does operating those systems and just supporting them, maintaining them are resupplying them, disposing of them, etc – Does that create any hazards or introduce any hazards? And how do we mitigate? That’s the purpose of the task.

Task Description (T206) #1

Let’s move on to the task description. Again, we’re assuming a contractor is performing the analysis, but that’s not necessarily the case. For this task, this actually says this typically begins during engineering and manufacturing development, or EMD.  So, we’re assuming an American style lifecycle for a big system and EMD comes after concept and requirements development. So, we are beginning to move into the very expensive stage of development for a system where we begin to commit serious money.

It’s suggesting that O&SHA can wait until then which is fine in general unless you’ve identified any particularly novel hazards that will need to be dealt with earlier on. As it says, it should build on design hazard analyses, but we’ll also talk about the case later on when there is no design hazard analyses. And the O&SHA shall identify requirements or alternatives or eliminating hazards, mitigating risks, etc. This is one of those tasks where the human is very important – In fact, dominant to be honest. Both as a source of hazards and the potential victim of the associated risks. A lot of human-centric stuff going on here.

Task Description (T206) #2

As always, we’re going to think about the system configurations. We’re going to think about what we’re going to do with the system and the environment that we’re going to do it in. So, a familiar triad and I know I keep banging on about this, but this really is fundamental to bounding and therefore evaluating safety. We’ve got to know what the system is, what we’re doing with it, and the environment in which we’re doing it. Let’s move on…

Click here to see the full transcript.

End: Operating & Support Hazard Analysis

So, that is the end of the lesson and it just remains for me to say thank you very much for your time and for listening. And I look forward to seeing you again soon. Cheers.

Meet the Author

Learn safety engineering with me, an industry professional with 25 years of experience, I have:

•Worked on aircraft, ships, submarines, ATMS, trains, and software;

•Tiny programs to some of the biggest (Eurofighter, Future Submarine);

•In the UK and Australia, on US and European programs;

•Taught safety to hundreds of people in the classroom, and thousands online;

•Presented on safety topics at several international conferences.

Categories
Blog Work Health and Safety

Lessons Learned from a Fatal Accident

Lessons Learned: in this 30-minute video, we learn lessons from an accident in 2016 that killed four people on the Thunder River Rapids Ride in Queensland. The coroner’s report was issued this year, and we go through the summary of that report. In it we find failings in WHS Duties, Due Diligence, risk management, and failures to eliminate or minimize risks So Far As is Reasonably Practicable (SFARP). We do not ‘name and shame’, rather we focus on where we can find guidance to do better.

In 2016, four people died on the Thunder River Rapids Ride.

Lessons Learned: Key Points

We examine multiple failings in:

  • WHS Duties;
  • WHS Due Diligence;
  • Risk management; and
  • Eliminating or minimizing risks So Far As is Reasonably Practicable (SFARP).

Transcript: Lessons Learned from a Theme Park Tragedy

Introduction

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Safety Artisan: purveyors of fine safety engineering training videos and other resources. I’m Simon and I’m your host and today we’re going to be doing something slightly different. So, there are no PowerPoint slides. Instead, I’m going to be reading from a coroner’s report from a well-known accident here in Australia and we’re going to be learning some lessons in the context of WHS workplace health and safety law.

Disclaimer

Now, I’d just like to reassure you before we start that I won’t be mentioning the names of the deceased. I won’t be sharing any images of them. And I’m not even going to mention the firm that owned the theme park because this is not about bashing people when they’re down. It’s about us as a community learning lessons when things go wrong to fix the problem, not the blame. So that’s what I’d like to emphasize here.

The Coroner’s Report

So, I’m just going to I’m just turning to the summary of the coroner’s report. The coroner was examining the deaths of four people back in 2016 on what was called the Thunder River Rapids Ride. Or TRRR or TR3 for short because it’s a bit of a mouthful. This was a water ride, as the name implies, and what went wrong was the water level dropped. Rafts, these circular rafts that went down the rapids, went down the chute, got stuck. Another raft came up behind the stuck raft and went into it. One of the rafts tipped over. These rafts seat six people in a circular configuration. You may have seen them. They’re in – different versions of this ride are in lots of theme parks.

But out of the six, unfortunately, the only two escaped before people were killed, tragically. So that’s the background. That happened in October 2016, I think it was. The coroner’s report came out a few months ago, and I’ve been wanting to talk about it for some time because it illustrates very well several issues where WHS can help us do the right thing.

WHS Duties

So, first of all, I’m looking at the first paragraph in the summary, the coroner starts off; the design and construction of the TRRR at the conveyor and unload area posed a significant risk to the health and safety of patrons. Notice that the coroner says the design and construction. Most people think that WHS only applies to workplaces and people managing workplaces, but it does a lot more than that. Sections 22 through 26 of the Act talk about the duties of designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, and then people who commissioned, install, et cetera.

So, WHS supplies duties on a wide range of businesses and undertakings, and designers and constructors are key. There are two of them. Now, it’s worth noting that there was no importer here. The theme park, although the TRRR ride was similar to a ride available commercially elsewhere, for some reason, they chose to design and build their version in Queensland. Don’t know why. Anyway, that doesn’t matter now. So, there was no importer, but otherwise, even if you didn’t design and construct the thing, if you imported it, the same duties still apply to you.

No Effective Risk Assessment

So, the coroner then goes on to talk about risks and hazards and says each of these obvious hazards posed a risk to the safety of patrons on the ride and would have been easily identifiable to a competent person had one ever been commissioned to conduct a risk and hazard assessment of the ride. So, what the coroner is saying there is, “No effective risk assessment has been done”. Now, that is contrary to the risk management code of practice under WHS and also, of course, that the definition of SFARP, so far as reasonably practicable, basically is a risk assessment or risk management process. So, if you’ve not done effective risk management, you can’t say that you’ve eliminated or minimized risks SFARP, which is another legal requirement. So, a double whammy there.

Then moving on. “Had noticed been taken of lessons learned from the preceding incidents, which were all of a very similar nature …” and then he goes on. That’s the back end of a sentence where he says, you didn’t do this, you had incidents on the ride, which are very similar in the past, and you didn’t learn from them. And again, concerning reducing risks SFARP, Section 18 in the WHS Act, which talks about the definition of reasonably practicable, which is the core of SFARP, talks about what ought to have been known at the time.

So, when you’re doing a risk assessment or maybe you’re reassessing risk after a modification – and this ride was heavily modified several times or after an incident – you need to take account of the available information. And the owners of TRRR the operators didn’t do that. So, another big failing.

The coroner goes on to note that records available concerning the modifications to the ride are scant and ad hoc. And again, there’s a section in the WHS risk management code of practice about keeping records. It’s not that onerous. I mean, the COP is pretty simple but they didn’t meet the requirement of the code of practice. So, bad news again.

Due Diligence

And then finally, I’ve got to the bottom of page one. So, the coroner then notes the maintenance tasks undertaken on the ride whilst done so regularly and diligently by the staff, seemed to have been based upon historical checklists which were rarely reviewed despite the age of the device or changes to the applicable Australian standards. Now, this is interesting. So, this is contravening a different section of the WHS Act.

Section 27, talks about the duties of officers and effectively that sort of company directors, and senior managers. Officers are supposed to exercise due diligence. In the act, due diligence is fairly simple- It’s six bullet points, but one of them is that the officers have to sort of keep up to date on what’s going on in their operation. They have to provide up-to-date and effective safety information for their staff. They’re also supposed to keep up with what’s going on in safety regulations that apply to their operation. So, I reckon in that one statement from the coroner then there’s probably three breaches of due diligence there to start with.

Risk Controls Lacking

We’ve reached the bottom of page one- Let’s carry on. The coroner then goes on to talk about risk controls that were or were not present and says, “in accordance with the hierarchy of controls, plant and engineering measures should have been considered as solutions to identified hazards”. So in WHS regulations and it’s repeated in the risk code of practice, there’s a thing called the hierarchy of controls. It says that some types of risk controls are more effective than others and therefore they come at the top of the list, whereas others are less effective and should be considered last.

So, top of the list is, “Can you eliminate the hazard?” If not, can you substitute the hazardous thing for something else that’s less hazardous- or with something else that is less hazardous, I should say? Can you put in engineering solutions or controls to control hazards? And then finally, at the bottom of my list are admin procedures for people to follow and then personal protective equipment for workers, for example. We’ll talk about this more later, but the top end of the hierarchy had just not been considered or not effectively anyway.

A Predictable Risk

So, the coroner then goes on to say, “rafts coming together on the ride was a well-known risk, highlighted by the incident in 2001 and again in 2004”. Now actually it says 2004, I think that might be a typo. Elsewhere, it says 2014, but certainly, two significant incidents were similar to the accident that killed four people. And it was acknowledged that various corrective measures could be undertaken to, quote, “adequately control the risk of raft collision”.

However, a number of these suggestions were not implemented on the ride. Now, given that they’ve demonstrated the ability to kill multiple people on the ride with a raft collision, it’s going to be a very, very difficult thing to justify not implementing controls. So, given the seriousness of the potential risk, to say that a control is feasible is practicable, but then to say “We’re not going to do it. It’s not reasonable”. That’s going to be very, very difficult to argue and I would suggest it’s almost a certainty that not all reasonably practicable controls were implemented, which means the risk is not SFARP, which is a legal requirement.

Further on, we come back to document management, which was poor with no formal risk register in place. So, no evidence of a proper risk assessment. Members of the department did not conduct any holistic risk assessments of rides with the general view that another department was responsible. So, the fact that risk assessment wasn’t done – that’s a failure. The fact that senior management didn’t knock heads together and say “This has to be done. Make it happen”- That’s also another failing. That’s a failing of due diligence, I suspect. So, we’ve got a couple more problems there.

High-Risk Plant

Then, later on, the coroner talks about necessary engineering oversight of high-risk plant not being done. Now, under WHS act definitions, amusement rides are counted as high-risk plant, presumably because of the number of serious accidents that have happened with them over the years. The managers of the TRRR didn’t meet their obligations concerning high-risk plants. So, some things that are optional for common stuff are mandatory for high-risk plants, and those obligations were not met it seems.

And then in just the next paragraph, we reinforce this due diligence issue. Only a scant amount of knowledge was held by those in management positions, including the general manager of engineering, as to the design modifications and past notable incidents on the ride. One of the requirements of due diligence is that senior management must know their operations, and know the hazards and risks associated with the operations. So for the engineering manager to be ignorant about modifications and risks associated with the ride, I think is a clear failure of due diligence.

Still talking about engineering, the coroner notes “it is significant that the general manager had no knowledge of past incidents involving rafts coming together on the ride”. Again, due diligence. If things have happened those need to be investigated and learned from and then you need to apply fresh controls if that’s required. And again, this is a requirement. So, this shows a lack of due diligence. It’s also a requirement in the risk management code of practice to look at things when new knowledge is gained. So, a couple more failures there.

No Water-Level Detection, Alarm Or Emergency Stop

Now, it said that the operators of the ride were well aware that when one pump failed, and there were two, the ride was no longer able to operate with the water level dropping dramatically, stranding the rafts on the steel support railings. And of course, that’s how the accident happened. Regardless, there was no formal means by which to monitor the water level of the ride and no audible alarm to advise one of the pumps had ceased to operate. So, a water level monitor? Well, we’re talking potentially about a float, which is a pretty simple thing. There’s one in every cistern, in every toilet in Australia. Maybe the one for the ride would have to be a bit more sophisticated than that- A bit industrial grade but the same principle.

And no alarm to advise the operators that this pump had failed, even though it was known that this would have a serious effect on the operation of the ride. So, there are multiple problems here. I suspect you’ll be able to find regulations that require these things. Certainly, if you looked at the code of practice on plant design because this counts as industrial plants, it’s a high-risk plant, so you would expect very high standards of engineering controls on high-risk plants and these were missing. More on that later.

In a similar vein, the coroner says “a basic automated detection system for the water level would have been inexpensive and may have prevented the incident from occurring”. So basically, the coroner is saying this control mechanism would have been cheap so it’s certainly reasonably practicable. If you’ve got a cheap control that will prevent a serious injury or a death, then how on earth are you going to argue that it’s not reasonable to implement it? The onus is on us to implement all reasonably practical controls.

And then similarly, the lack of a single emergency stop on the ride, which was capable of initiating a complete shutdown of all the mechanisms, was also inadequate. And that’s another requirement from the code of practice on plant design, which refers back to WHS regulations. So, another breach there.

Human Factors

We then move on to a section where it talks about operators, operators’ accounts of the incident, and other human factors. I’m probably going to ask my friend Peter Bender, who is a Human Factors specialist, to come and do a session on this and look at this in some more detail, because there are rich pickings in this section and I’m just going to skim the surface here because we haven’t got time to do more.

The coroner says “it’s clear that these 38 signals and checks to be undertaken by the ride operators was excessive, particularly given that the failure to carry out any one could potentially be a factor which would contribute to a serious incident”. So clearly, 38 signals and checks were distributed between two ride operators, because there was no one operator in control of the whole ride- that’s a human factors nightmare for a start- but clearly, the work designed for the ride was poor. There is good guidance available from Safe Work Australia on good work design so there’s no excuse for this kind of lapse.

And then the coroner goes on to say, reinforcing this point that the ride couldn’t be safely controlled by a human operator. The lack of engineering controls on a ride of this nature is unjustifiable. Again, reinforces the point that risk was not SFARP because not all reasonably practicable controls had been implemented. Particularly controls at the higher end of the hierarchy of controls. So, a serious failing there.  

(Now, I’ve got something that I’m going to skip, actually, but – It’s a heck of a comment, but it’s not relevant to WHS.)

Training And Competence

We’re moving on to training and competence. Those responsible for managing the ride whilst following the process and procedure in place – and I’m glad to see you from a human practice point of view that the coroner is not just trying to blame the last person who touched it. He’s making a point of saying the operators did all the right stuff. Nevertheless, they were largely not qualified to perform the work for which they were charged.

The process and procedures that they were following seemed to have been created by unknown persons. Because of the poor record-keeping, presumably who it is safe to assume lacked the necessary expertise. And I think the coroner is making a reasonable assumption there, given the multiple failings that we’ve seen in risk management, in due diligence, in record-keeping, in the knowledge of key people, et cetera, et cetera. It seems that the practice at the park was simply to accept what had always been done in terms of policy and procedure.

And despite changes to safety standards and practices happening over time, because this is an old ride, only limited and largely reactionary consideration was ever given to making changes, including training, provided to staff. So, reactionary -bad word. We’re supposed to predict risk and prevent harm from happening. So, multiple failures in due diligence here and on staff training, providing adequate staff training, providing adequate procedures, et cetera.

The coroner goes on to say, “regardless of the training provided at the park, it would never have been sufficient to overcome the poor design of the ride. The lack of automation and engineering controls”. So, again, the hierarchy of controls was not applied, and relatively cheap, engineering controls were not used, placing an undue burden on the operator. Sadly, this is all too common in many applications. This is one of the reasons they are not naming the ride operators or trying to shame them because I’ve seen this happen in so many different places. It wouldn’t be fair to single these people out.

‘Incident-Free’ Operations?

Now we have a curious, a curious little statement in paragraph 1040. The coroner says “submissions are made that there was a 30-year history of incident-free operation of the ride”. So, what it looks like is that the ride operators, and management, trying to tell the coroner that they never had an incident on the ride in 30 years, which sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it, at face value?

But of course, the coroner already knew or discovered later on that there had been incidents on the ride. Two previous incidents were very similar to the fatal accident. Now, on the surface, this looks bad, doesn’t it? It looks like the ride management was trying to mislead the coroner. I don’t think that’s the case because I’ve seen many organizations do poor incident reporting, poor incident recording, and poor learning from experience from incidents. It doesn’t surprise me that the senior management was not aware of incidents on their ride. Unfortunately, it’s partly human nature.

Nobody likes to dwell on their failures or think about nasty things happening, and nobody likes to go to the boss saying we need to shut down a moneymaking ride. Don’t forget, this was a very popular ride. We need to shut down a moneymaking ride to spend more money on modifications to make it safer. And then management turns around and says, “Well, nobody’s been hurt. So, what’s the problem?” And again, I’ve seen this attitude again and again, even on people operating much more sophisticated and much more dangerous equipment than this. So, whilst this does look bad- the optics are not good, as they like to say. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy going on here. I think it’s just stupid mistakes because it’s so common. Moving on.

Standards

Now the coroner goes on to talk about standards not being followed, particularly when standards get updated over time. Bearing in mind this ride was 30 years old. The coroner states “it is essential that any difference in these standards are recognized and steps taken to ensure any shortfalls with a device manufactured internationally is managed”. Now, this is a little bit of an aside, because as I’ve mentioned before, the TRRR was actually designed and manufactured in Australia. Albeit not to any standards that we would recognize these days. But most rides were not and this highlights the duties of importers. So, if you import something from abroad, you need to make sure that it complies with Australian requirements. That’s a requirement, that’s a duty under WHS law. We’ll come back to this in just a moment.

The Role Of The Regulator

We’ll skip that one because we’ve done training and competency to death. So, following on about the international standards, the coroner also has a crack at the Queensland regulator, who I won’t name, and says “the regulator draws my attention to the difficulties arising when we’re requiring all amusement devices to comply with Australian standards. This difficulty is brought about by the fact that most amusement devices are designed and manufactured overseas, predominantly based on European standards”. [Actually, WHS law generally does NOT require us to comply with Australian Standards!]

Now, in the rest of the report, the coroner has a good old crack at the regulator. The coroner sticks the boot into the regulator for being pretty useless. And sadly, that’s no surprise in Australia. So basically, the regulator said, “Oh, it’s all too difficult!” And you think, “Well, it’s your job, actually, so why haven’t you done it properly?”

But being a little bit more practical, if you work in an industry where a lot of stuff is imported and let’s face it, that’s pretty common in Australia, you’ve got two choices. You can either try and change Australian standards so that they align better to the standards of the kit where you’re getting the stuff from in your industry, or maybe the regulators could say, “Okay, this is a common problem across the industry. We will provide some guidance that tells you how to make that transition from the international standards to Australian standards and what we as the regulator consider acceptable and not acceptable”. And then that helps the industry to do the right thing and to be consistent in terms of operation and enforcement.

So, the regulator is letting people who they regulate know this is the standard that is required of you, this is what you have to do. And that’s the job of a good regulator. So, the fact that the regulator in this particular case just hadn’t bothered to do so over some decades, it would seem, doesn’t say a lot for the professionalism of the regulator. And I’m not surprised that the coroner decided to have a go at them.

Summary

So, we’ve been through just over 20 comments, I think. I mean, I had 24/25 in total, but I skipped a few because they were a bit repetitive and it’s interesting to note that there were two major comments on failure to conduct designer duties and that kind of thing. Seven on risk management, four on SFARP, although of course, all the risk management ones also affect SFARP, and five on due diligence. So, there’re almost 20 significant breaches there and I wasn’t even really trying to pick up everything the coroner said. And bearing in mind, I was only reading from the summary. I didn’t bother reading the whole report because it’s pages and pages and pages.

And the lesson that we can draw from this, friends, is not to bash the people who make mistakes, but to learn lessons for ourselves. How could we do better? And I think the lesson is everything that we need to do has been set out in the WHS Act, in the WHS regulations. Then there are codes of practice that give us guidance in particular areas and our general responsibilities and these codes of practice also guide us on to what could should be considered, SFARP, for certain hazards and risks. There’s also some fantastic guidance, documentation, and information available from Safe Work Australia. On, for example, human factors and good work design and so on.

So, there’s lots of really good, really readable information out there and it’s all free. It’s all available on that wonderful thing we call the Internet. So, there is no excuse for making basic mistakes like this and killing people. It’s not that difficult. And a lot of the safety requirements are not that onerous. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to read them and understand them. A lot of the requirements are basic, structured, common sense.

So, the lesson from this awful accident is it doesn’t have to be this way. We can do much better than that quite easily and if we don’t and something goes wrong, then the law will be after us. It will be interesting to see- I believe that WorkSafe Queensland is now investigating to see whether they’re going to bring any prosecutions that should be said. The police investigated and didn’t bring any prosecutions against individuals. I don’t know if Queensland has a corporate manslaughter act. I wouldn’t think so based on the fact that they’ve not prosecuted anybody, but you don’t need to find an individual guilty of gross negligence, or manslaughter for four WHS to take effect.

So, I suspect that in due course, we will see the operators of the theme park probably cop a significant fine and maybe some of their directors and senior managers will be going to jail. That’s how serious these and how numerous these breaches are. You don’t need to dig very deep to see what’s gone wrong and to see the legal obligations have not been met.

Meet the Author

My name’s Simon Di Nucci. I’m a practicing system safety engineer, and I have been, for the last 25 years; I’ve worked in all kinds of domains, aircraft, ships, submarines, sensors, and command and control systems, and some work on rail air traffic management systems, and lots of software safety. So, I’ve done a lot of different things!

Back to the ‘Work Health & Safety‘ and ‘Start Here‘ Topics Pages.

Categories
Blog Cybersecurity

My CISSP Exam Journey

Here is a video about my CISSP exam journey.

I’ve just passed the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Exam…

Get the full ‘My CISSP Exam Journey’ free video here.

I’ve just passed the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Exam, which was significantly updated on 1st May 2021. In this 30-minute video I will cover:

  • The official CISSP course and course guide;
  • The 8 Domains of CISSP, and how to take stock of your knowledge of them;
  • The official practice questions and the Study Guide;
  • The CISSP Exam itself; and
  • Lessons learned from my journey.

I wish you every success in your CISSP journey: it’s tough, but you can do it!

To get a full course on what’s new in all eight Domains of the CISSP Exam outline (for FREE!) Click Here.

Transcript: My CISSP Exam Journey

Hi, Everyone,

My name is Simon Di Nucci and I’ve just passed the new CISSP exam; for those of you who don’t know what that is, that’s the Certified Information Systems Security professional. It’s new because the exams have been around a long time, but the syllabus and the exam itself have undergone a significant change as of the 1st of May this year. I’m probably one of the first people to pass the new exam, which I have to tell you was a great relief because it was really it was a tough exam and it was tough preparing for it.

It was a big mountain to climb. I am very, very relieved to have passed. Now, I hope to share some lessons with you. When I mentioned that I passed on the cybersecurity groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, I got a huge response from people who appreciated how difficult it is to do this and also lots of questions. And whilst I can’t talk about the specifics of the exam, that’s not allowed, I can share some really useful lessons learned from my journey.

Introduction

So I’m going to be talking about what I did:

  • The Official Course, and the Student Guide;
  • How I took stock at the start of the revision process;
  • How I revised using the practice questions and the Study Guide;
  • Something about the exam itself; and
  • Lessons learned.

The Official Course

So let’s get on with it.  My journey was that two, or three years ago, the firm that I worked for decided that they wanted me to take the CISSP exam in order to improve our credibility when doing cybersecurity and my credibility.

I was sent on a five-day course which was very intense and it was the official book.is the official ISC2 course. And that was several hundred slides a day for five days. It was very intense. And as you can see, the guy that you get with a pretty hefty eight hundred pages of closely packed and high-quality material. I was taught by someone who was clearly a very experienced expert in the field.

It was a good quality course. It cost about $3,700 (Australian). I think that’s about $2,500 (US). In terms of the investment, I think it was worth it because it covered a lot of ground and I was very rusty on a lot of this stuff. It was it was a useful ‘crammer’ to get back into this stuff. As I said, [the Study Guide is] 800 pages long. I’ve done a lot of revising!

Practical Things

Let’s put that to one side. The course was very good, but of course, it takes some time out of your schedule to do it. You need the money and the support from your workplace to be able to do that. There are now online courses, which I haven’t been on, I can’t say how good they are, but they are cheaper and they’re spread out. I think you do a day or two per week for a period of several weeks.

And I think that’s got to be really good because you’re going to have more time to consolidate this huge amount of information in your head. No disrespect to the face-to-face course. It was very good. I think the online courses could be even better and a lot more accessible.  That was the course. Now, I did that in November twenty nineteen and I intended to do some revision and then take the exam probably in early.

In March, April 2020, global events got in the way of that and all the exam centers were closed down. I couldn’t do that. Basically, I sort of forgot about it for a period of months. And then at the tail end of 2020, as things began to improve here in Australia at least, we’ve been very lucky here, exam centers reopened and I thought, well, I really should get back and, you know, try and schedule the exam and do some revision and get on with it.

Exam Preparation

So I did. And starting in the January of this year, I got my management agreement that I would spend one day a week working from home, revising, and that’s what I did. Given that I took the exam in the middle of May, that’s probably 18 full days of revision going through the material and I needed it. Originally, I was going to take the exam, I think, in early April, but I realized at the end of March that I was not ready and I needed more time.

So I put the exam date back to the middle of May. And it was only after I’d done that that it was announced that the syllabus of the exam was changing quite significantly. That was a, you know, extra work then. And fortunately. They. They brought out the official guide to the new exam, and I realized that quite a lot of material to learn. I went through and for example, there are eight domains in CISSP.

And for example, here’s domain number two, asset security. In the pink, I have highlighted all the new things that are in the 1st of May Edition syllabus that were not in the 2018 syllabus.  and I went through all of these things and there are quite a few in almost every domain except the first one. There are significant changes.  I had to do a lot of extra revision because the syllabus had changed, but nevertheless, it was doable.

To get regular updates from The Safety Artisan, Click Here. For more introductory lessons Start Here.

Categories
Human Factors System Safety

Introduction to Human Factors

In this 40-minute video, ‘Introduction to Human Factors’, I am very pleased to welcome Peter Benda to The Safety Artisan.

Peter is a colleague and Human Factors specialist, who has 23 years’ experience in applying Human Factors to large projects in all kinds of domains. In this session we look at some fundamentals: what does Human Factors engineering aim to achieve? Why do it? And what sort of tools and techniques are useful?

This is The Safety Artisan, so we also discuss some real-world examples of how erroneous human actions can contribute to accidents. (See this post for a fuller example of that.) And, of course, how Human Factors discipline can help to prevent them.

In ‘Introduction to Human Factors’, Peter explains these vital terms to us!

Topics

  • Introducing Peter;
  • The Joint Optimization Of Human-Machine Systems;
  • So why do it (HF)?
  • Introduction to Human Factors;
  • Definitions of Human Factors;
  • The Long Arm of Human Factors;
  • What is Human Factors Integration? and
  • More HF sessions to come…

Introduction to Human Factors: Transcript

Introduction

Simon:  Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Safety Artisan: Home of Safety Engineering Training. I’m Simon and I’m your host, as always. But today we are going to be joined by a guest, a Human Factors specialist, a colleague, and a friend of mine called Peter Benda. Now, Peter started as one of us, an ordinary engineer, but unusually, perhaps for an engineer, he decided he didn’t like engineering without people in it. He liked the social aspects and the human aspects and so he began to specialize in that area. And today, after twenty-three years in the business, and first degree and a master’s degree in engineering with a Human Factors speciality. He’s going to join us and share his expertise with us.

So that’s how you got into it then, Peter. For those of us who aren’t really familiar with Human Factors, how would you describe it to a beginner?

Peter:   Well, I would say it’s The Joint Optimization Of Human-Machine Systems. So it’s really focusing on designing systems, perhaps help holistically would be a term that could be used, where we’re looking at optimizing the human element as well as the machine element. And the interaction between the two. So that’s really the key to Human Factors. And, of course, there are many dimensions from there; environmental, organizational, job factors, human and individual characteristics. All of these influence behaviour at work and health and safety. Another way to think about it is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of systems. Systems are for human use, which I think most systems are.

Simon:  Indeed. Otherwise, why would humans build them?

Peter:   That’s right. Generally speaking, sure.

Simon:  So, given that this is a thing that people do then. Perhaps we’re not so good at including the human unless we think about it specifically?

Peter:   I think that’s fairly accurate. I would say that if you look across industries, and industries are perhaps better at integrating Human Factors, considerations or Human Factors into the design lifecycle, that they have had to do so because of the accidents that have occurred in the past. You could probably say this about safety engineering as well, right?

Simon:  And this is true, yes.

Peter:   In a sense, you do it because you have to because the implications of not doing it are quite significant. However, I would say the upshot, if you look at some of the evidence –and you see this also across software design and non-safety critical industries or systems –that taking into account human considerations early in the design process typically ends up in better system performance. You might have more usable systems, for example. Apple would be an example of a company that puts a lot of focus into human-computer interaction and optimizing the interface between humans and their technologies and ensuring that you can walk up and use it fairly easily. Now as time goes on, one can argue how out how well Apple is doing something like that, but they were certainly very well known for taking that approach.

Simon:  And reaped the benefits accordingly and became, I think, they were the world’s number one company for a while.

Peter:   That’s right. That’s right.

Simon:  So, thinking about the, “So why do it?” What is one of the benefits of doing Human Factors well?

Peter:   Multiple benefits, I would say. Clearly, safety and safety-critical systems, like health and safety; Performance, so system performance; Efficiency and so forth. Job satisfaction and that has repercussions that go back into, broadly speaking, that society. If you have meaningful work that has other repercussions and that’s sort of the angle I originally came into all of this from. But, you know, you could be looking at just the safety and efficiency aspects.

Simon:  You mentioned meaningful work: is that what attracted you to it?

Peter:   Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. Yes, like I said I had a keen interest in the sociology of work and looking at work organization. Then, for my master’s degree, I looked at lean production, which is the Toyota approach to producing vehicles. I looked at multiskilled teams and multiskilling and job satisfaction. Then looking at stress indicators and so forth versus mass production systems. So that’s really the angle I came into this. If you look at it, mass production lines where a person is doing the same job over and over, it’s quite repetitive and very narrow, versus the more Japanese style lean production. There are certainly repercussions, both socially and individually, from a psychological health perspective.

Simon:  So, you get happy workers and more contented workers –

Peter:   – And better quality, yeah.

Simon:  And again, you mentioned Toyota. Another giant company that’s presumably grown partly through applying these principles.

Peter:   Well, they’re famous for quality, aren’t they? Famous for reliable, high-quality cars that go on forever. I mean, when I moved from Canada to Australia, Toyota has a very, very strong history here with the Land Cruiser, and the high locks, and so forth.

Simon:  All very well-known brands here. Household names.

Peter:   Are known to be bombproof and can outlast any other vehicle. And the lean production system certainly has, I would say, quite a bit of responsibility for the production of these high-quality cars.

Simon:  So, we’ve spoken about how you got into it and “What is it?” and “Why do it?” I suppose, as we’ve said, what it is in very general terms but I suspect a lot of people listening will want to know to define what it is, what Human Factors is, based on doing it. On how you do it. It’s a long, long time since I did my Human Factors training. Just one module in my masters, so could you take me through what Human Factors involves these days in broad terms.

Peter:   Sure, I actually have a few slides that might be useful –  

Simon:  – Oh terrific! –

Peter:   – maybe I should present that. So, let me see how well I can share this. And of course, sometimes the problem is I’ll make sure that – maybe screen two is the best way to share it. Can you see that OK?

Simon:  Yeah, that’s great…

(See the video for the full content)

Introduction to Human Factors: Leave a Comment!

Categories
Blog System Safety

Understanding System Safety Engineering: A Holistic Approach to Ensuring Safety

Understanding System Safety Engineering: A Holistic Approach to Ensuring Safety. To know that we first need to understand what Systems Engineering is…

Section 1: The Basics of Systems Engineering

It starts with needs and concepts, which may be quite abstract, and progressively breaks these down into concrete, specific requirements. We also determine how those requirements will be verified.

Section 2: The Transformative Process

We then transform those requirements into a logical architecture and then into a design. Then the design is translated into physical and functional components that can be developed or bought. Through all these transformations, the requirements are decomposed and flow down. Thus, we see how each component, or Configurable Item, contributes to meeting the requirements for the overall System.

Section 3: The Practice of System Safety Engineering

Finally, we must put the components together – integrate them – perhaps testing as we go to make sure that they work together. We can then verify the completed system, and support customer validation.

That’s the theory (albeit very briefly, I went on a week-long course just to learn the basics). In my experience, the practice of System Safety Engineering involves five things, it:

  1. Deals with the whole system, including software, data, people, and environment;
  2. Uses a systematic (rigorous) process;
  3. Concentrates on requirements (to cope with complexity);
  4. Considers safety early in the system life cycle; and
  5. Handles complexity cost-effectively and efficiently.

Understanding System Safety Engineering: A Holistic Approach to Ensuring Safety

Understanding System Safety Engineering: A Holistic Approach to Ensuring Safety – watch the Lesson Here.

System Safety Engineering: Transcript

What is system safety or system safety engineering? Well, as the name suggests, system safety is engineering safety in a systems-engineering context. Okay. So it’s safety that’s deliberately sat within a systems-engineering framework.

That drives everything about how we consider safety.  Like systems engineering in general, it follows systems theory. But I’m not going to talk about systems theory now. That’s a huge subject.

I’m not actually an expert in [the theory], but I’m going to talk about three practical things that I’ve observed from doing system safety for 25 years or so.

Section 5: Considering the Whole System

First of all, we consider the system holistically. So it’s not just the technical stuff. It’s not just the hardware. It’s the software as well if there’s any software in the system.

It’s the operating environment around the system and what we’re doing with it, the functions that we’re asking it to do, all the applications that we’re putting it to, and we include the people who are using it. We include all the data that’s being used, all of the documentation, everything. So we are looking at the system as a whole in accordance with systems theory. That’s the first point.

Section 6: A Systematic Process

The second point is that it is systematic from a process point of view.

We’re following a rigorous process whereby maybe we start with some sort of high-level requirements, and we think about in safety terms what could go wrong. And we think about all of our safety obligations, what we must do. And then we decompose that, break down the problem piece by piece, systematically down to a component level. And then we consider all of the components, and then we systematically integrate it all back together.

And what I’m kind of indicating is the V model, where we start at the top left-hand corner with our requirements. And then from our requirements, we think about, well, how are we going to demonstrate that we’ve met those requirements at the end of the process? And then we carry on going down the decomposing into more detail but also thinking about how we’re going to verify and validate that we’ve done what we needed to do at every stage when we integrate and come back up the other side.

So that’s the systematic part of the process.

Section 7: Requirements and Safety

And then Thirdly, which are kind of hinted up already, is a big thing about requirements.

In systems engineering, we are talking about complex stuff. It’s hard to understand. It’s not a toaster. It’s not a simple commodity item, where we can just go, well, I want a toaster and everybody knows what a toaster does or should do and what it shouldn’t do. We want to want it to toast bread and other things, but we don’t want it to electrocute people.

You know what a toaster is. You don’t need to articulate the requirements of a toaster. But if it’s something more complicated, like a ship or a power station or a complex piece of information technology, you want to develop a big software system to do something, then that’s very complicated, and you need to consider the requirements in a systematic fashion, starting at the top level, thinking about big picture stuff, what’s the system and its boundaries, what does it interact with?  What do we want it to do?

Then we need to go to a lot of effort to rigorously decompose that and come up with requirements, which you then verify and validate at the end of the project – or preferably before to avoid surprises. That’s a big part of systems engineering, as we’re dealing with complexity, and systems safety evolved to fit in with systems engineering.  It uses all of those concepts, all of those are powerful levers to help us engineer safety into a system rather than just adding it on at the very end.

Section 8: Think Safety from the Start

I guess that’s the fourth big point. We start to think about safety right at the beginning, at the top left-hand corner of the V, not just at the end, and then add it on and hope everything will be all right, because that doesn’t usually work. And that’s a very, usually a very expensive and ineffective way to do things.

So that’s another point that system safety engineering. We are engineering safety into the system early because that is a more cost-effective way of doing it.

Summary

To summarise system safety engineering, remember:

  • It’s systematic in terms of the way we think about the system and all of its parts;
  • It’s systematic in terms of the process, the way we approach the task and break down the tasks rigorously and put them back together; and
  • It borrows from systems engineering and systems theory in the way we consider requirements.

Those three things are system safety engineering. For more on system safety try the FAQ post and the system safety assessment page.

Understanding System Safety Engineering: A Holistic Approach to Ensuring Safety

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Categories
Blog System Safety

System Safety Principles

In this 45-minute video, I discuss System Safety Principles, as set out by the US Federal Aviation Authority in their System Safety Handbook. Although this was published in 2000, the principles still hold good (mostly) and are worth discussing. I comment on those topics where the modern practice has moved on, and those jurisdictions where the US approach does not sit well.

This is the ten-minute preview of the full, 45-minute video.

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System Safety Principles: Topics

  • Foundational statement
  • Planning
  • Management Authority
  • Safety Precedence
  • Safety Requirements
  • System Analyses Assumptions & Criteria
  • Emphasis & Results
  • MA Responsibilities
  • Software hazard analysis
  • An Effective System Safety Program

System Safety Principles: Transcript

Hello and welcome to The Safety Artisan where you will find professional pragmatic and impartial educational products. I’m Simon and it’s the 3rd of November 2019. Tonight I’m going to be looking at a short introduction to System Safety Principles.

Introduction

On to system safety principles; in the full video we look at all principles from the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority’s System Safety Handbook but in this little four- or five-minute video – whatever it turns out to be – we’ll take a quick look just to let you know what it’s about.

Topics for this Session

These are the subjects in the full session. Really a fundamental statement; we talk about planning; talk about the management authority (which is the body that is responsible for bringing into existence -in this case- some kind of aircraft or air traffic control system, something like that, something that the FAA would be the regulator for in the US).

We talk about safety precedents. In other words, what’s the most effective safety control to use. Safety requirements; system analyses – which are highlighted because that’s just the sample I’m going to talk about, tonight; assumptions and safety criteria; emphasis and results – which is really about how much work you put in where and why; management authority responsibilities; a little aside of a specialist area – software hazard analysis; And finally, what you need for an effective System Safety Program.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that this is not an uncritical look at the FAA handbook. It is 19 years old now so the principles are still good, but some of it’s a bit long in the tooth. And there are some areas where, particularly on software, things have moved on. And there are some areas where the FAA approach to system safety is very much predicated on an American approach to how these things are done.  

Systems Analysis

So, without further ado, let’s talk about system analysis. There are two points that the Handbook makes. First of all, these analyses are basic tools for systematically developing design specifications. Let’s unpack that statement. So, the analyses are tools- they’re just tools. You’ve still got to manage safety. You’ve still got to estimate risk and make decisions- that’s absolutely key. The system analyses are tools to help you do that. They won’t make decisions for you. They won’t exercise authority for you or manage things for you. They’re just tools.

Secondly, the whole point is to apply them systematically. So, coverage is important here- making sure that we’ve covered the entire system. And also doing things in a thorough and orderly fashion. That’s the systematic bit about it.

And then finally, it’s about developing design specifications. Now, this is where the American emphasis comes in. But before we talk about that, it’s fundamental to note that really we need to work out what our safety requirements are.

What are we Trying to Achieve?

What are we trying to achieve here with safety? And why? These are really important concepts because if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve then it will be very difficult to get there and to demonstrate that you’ve got there – which is kind of the point of safety. Putting effort into getting the requirements right is very important because without doing that first step all your other work could be invalid. In my experience of 20-plus years in the business, if you don’t have a precise grasp of what you’re trying to achieve then you’re going to waste a lot of time and money, probably.

So, onto the second bullet point. Now the handbook says that the ultimate measure of safety is not the scope of analysis but in satisfying requirements. So, the first part – very good. We’re not doing analysis for the sake of it. That’s not the measure of safety – that we’ve analyzed something to death or that we’ve expended vast amounts of dollars on doing this work but that we’ve worked out the requirements and the analysis has helped us to meet them. That is the key point.

Safety in Different Jurisdictions

This is where it can go slightly pear-shaped in that this emphasis on requirements (almost to the exclusion of anything else) is a very U.S.-centric way of doing things. So, very much in the US, the emphasis is you meet the spec, you certify that you’ve met spec and therefore we’re safe. But of course what if the spec is wrong? Or what if it’s just plain inappropriate for a new use of an existing system or whatever it might be?

In other jurisdictions, notably the U.K. (and as you can tell from my accent that’s where I’m from, I’ve got a lot of experience doing safety work in the U.K. but also Australia where I now live and work) it’s not about meeting requirements. Well, it is but let me explain. In the UK and Australia, English law works on the idea of intent.

So, we aim to make something safe: not whether it has that it’s necessarily met requirements or not, that doesn’t really matter so much, but is the risk actually reduced to an acceptable level? There are tests for deciding what is acceptable. Have you complied with the law? The law outside the US can take a very different approach to “it’s all about the specification”.

Not Just the Specification

Of course, those legal requirements and that requirement to reduce risk to an acceptable level, are, in themselves, requirements. But in Australian or British legal jurisdiction, you need to think about those legal requirements as well. They must be part of your requirements set.

So, just having a specification for a technical piece of cake that ignores the requirements of the law, which include not only design requirements but the thing is actually safe in service and can be safely introduced, used, disposed of, etc. If you don’t take those things into account you may not meet all your obligations under that system of law.

So, there’s an important point to understanding and using American standards and an American approach to system safety out of the assumed context. And that’s true of all standards and all approaches but it’s a point I bring out in the main video quite forcefully because it’s very important to understand.

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Meet the Author

Learn safety engineering with me, an industry professional with 25 years of experience, I have:

•Worked on aircraft, ships, submarines, ATMS, trains, and software;

•Tiny programs to some of the biggest (Eurofighter, Future Submarine);

•In the UK and Australia, on US and European programs;

•Taught safety to hundreds of people in the classroom, and thousands online;

•Presented on safety topics at several international conferences.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Blog

Testimonials

Testimonials from 20+ years in the industry. Hear what some clients and ex-colleagues have to say about The Safety Artisan.

General Testimonials

The way you teach this subject makes it comprehensible and part of an integral whole. It seems like your approach is rare (and valuable) in the world of System Safety.

Thomas Anthony
Director, Aviation Safety and Security Program
Viterbi School of Engineering
University of Southern California

“Hi Simon, I would just like to say that the content you have been putting out recently is absolutely amazing and I enjoy reading and listening through it.”

James Moodie

“Simon, Love the even-handed approach you’ve adopted and also the tongue-in-cheek comments.” 

Paul Bird, Former Manager Safety Engineering, BAES Australia

“Explanation about the military standard was very interesting, because for the first time somebody talked about possible disadvantages.”

Henri Van Buren, reviewing “System Safety Risk Analysis Programs”

“Valuable information, Clear explanations, Engaging delivery, Helpful practice activities, Accurate course description, Knowledgeable instructor.”

Manuel Louie B. Santos, reviewing “Risk Management 101”

“Understanding safety law can be difficult and, at times, confronting.  Thankfully, Simon has a knack of bringing clarity to complex legal requirements, using real work examples to help understanding.  I highly recommend Simon to any director or manager wanting to understand their legal obligations and ensure a safe workplace.”

Jonathan Carroll, Senior Leadership, Pacific National

“Simon, You are and always will be the master at explaining the way Safety management works in real life. It is great to see your broad and vast experience being available through this medium and The Safety Artisan website. I will definitely be dropping in to seek your trusted guidance.”

Kevin Payne, Systems Safety Consultant at QinetiQ

Testimonials from Udemy Courses

Principles of Software Safety Standards (scores 4.42 out of 5.00)

Performance by course attribute:

  • Are you learning valuable information? 97% said YES!
  • Are the explanations of concepts clear? 100% said YES!
  • Is the instructor’s delivery engaging? 95% said YES!
  • Are there enough opportunities to apply what you are learning? 86% said YES!
  • Is the course delivering on your expectations? 94% said YES!
  • Is the instructor knowledgeable about the topic? 97% said YES!

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How to Design a System Safety Program (scores 4.29 out of 5.00)

Performance by course attribute:

  • Are you learning valuable information? 100% said YES!
  • Are the explanations of concepts clear? 100% said YES!
  • Is the instructor’s delivery engaging? 100% said YES!
  • Are there enough opportunities to apply what you are learning? 100% said YES!
  • Is the course delivering on your expectations? 75% said YES!
  • Is the instructor knowledgeable about the topic? 100% said YES!

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How to Prepare for the CISSP Exam (scores 4.61 out of 5.00)

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  • Is the instructor knowledgeable about the topic? 100% said YES!

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Risk Management 101 (scores 4.48 out of 5.00)

Performance by course attribute:

  • Are you learning valuable information? 100% said YES!
  • Are the explanations of concepts clear? 100% said YES!
  • Is the instructor’s delivery engaging? 100% said YES!
  • Are there enough opportunities to apply what you are learning? 94% said YES!
  • Is the course delivering on your expectations? 97% said YES!
  • Is the instructor knowledgeable about the topic? 100% said YES!

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Behind the Scenes

How to Get the Most from The Safety Artisan #3

This is ‘How to Get the Most from The Safety Artisan #3’.

Last time #2, I posted about the two major focus areas for The Safety Artisan’s teaching. These are System Safety and Australian Work Health and Safety or WHS.

In my first post, I talked about the fundamental lessons under the start here topic. Even if you are experienced in safety, you may find that things are done very differently in another industry or country – I did. 

Now for Something Completely Different

Hi everyone and welcome, to The Safety Artisan. I’m your host, Simon. In this post, I want to talk about how you can connect with me, The Safety Artisan, and get more out of the website.

There are three ways you can do this.

Sign Up for Free Monthly Email Updates

First of all, you can sign up for free monthly emails. In these, I share with subscribers what has recently been released on the website, and what is coming up in the near future.

You will never miss a topic or a subject that you might be interested in!

Front cover of PHIA Guide
Subscribe to The Safety Artisan Mailing List and get your Free Gift!

If you sign up, you will also get a free digital download and a discount offer on a bundle of courses. So what are you waiting for?

Follow on YouTube or Social Media

Second, you can follow the safety Artisan on YouTube or on social media. If you sign up on my YouTube Channel and tick for notifications, you will be reminded every time I issue a new video lesson.

I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google My Business, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Vkontakte. Phew! 

On LinkedIn, you can see my full resume/CV and find my most popular articles.

Just Get in Touch

Third, you can directly get in touch with me by commenting on a post – ask a question! There is no such thing as a ‘dumb’ question, only dumb accidents.

You can also ask general questions by filling in the form on the Connect Page. (This is better than sending me a Direct Message on social media, as I get a lot of spam.)

There are a lot of different topics that I could cover. It is surprisingly difficult to find out what people really like to hear about. So, if there’s something that you want to learn about then just ask. I will bump the topic up on my ‘to do’ list.

That’s All, folks!

Well, that’s it from me, I hope you enjoy The Safety Artisan website and get as much as you can out of it. See you soon!

How to Get the Most from #3: What subjects do you want?

Leave a comment.

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Behind the Scenes

How to Get the Most fromThe Safety Artisan #2

Hi everyone, and welcome to The Safety Artisan. I’m Simon, your host. This is ‘How to Get the Most from The Safety Artisan #2’.

In my previous post (#1) I talk about the Start Here topic page. There you will find lessons that deal with fundamental issues – most of them are free.

This time I’m talking about two other topic areas, which are the main focus of The Safety Artisan – so far. 

System Safety

The first topic is system safety. I spend a lot of time talking about system safety because it’s used in so many different industries. You can apply its principles to just about anything.

And because it takes a systematic approach to safety you can scale it up or down. It is used on the biggest, multinational, multi-billion dollar projects you can imagine. You can also tailor it so that it can be used sensibly on much smaller projects. You can get good results for a lot less money and time.

So I present a whole suite of sessions on system safety, in particular how to do system safety analysis according to a US Military Standard 882E. Whether you’re working on US military systems or not doesn’t matter. The principles, practices, and procedures in the standard will equip you to tackle almost any standard.

But you’ve got to understand your standard, and what it was designed to achieve. Then you can make it work for you.

Australian Work Health and Safety

The second topic that I cover in detail is Australian Work Health and Safety (WHS). I’ve done a series on WHS because I find that is often misunderstood.

Unusually for health and safety legislation, WHS covers not just workplace health and safety, but the duties of designers, manufacturers, importers, installers, and users of plant, substances, and structures. In fact, anyone who is involved through its lifecycle.

Coming to Australia?

WHS also contains and concepts like ‘So Far As Is Reasonably Practicable or SFAIRP/SFARP. These are often misunderstood and misapplied. This is a shame because the public guidance that is out there is excellent.

For example, I introduce Codes of Practice, especially the ones that tell you how to manage risk and Consult, Cooperate, and Coordinate on WHS matters. From my personal experience, I explain how to use this guidance and how to get results.

Even if you don’t work in Australia, you’ll find that many principles used in WHS law are found in other western nations. For example, I compared safety laws in the UK and Australia, based on my experience of working in both countries.

How to Get the Most from The Safety Artisan #3: Coming Soon…

Next time, I talk about how you can connect and interact with The Safety Artisan to get better learning results for you!

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Behind the Scenes

How to Get the Most from The Safety Artisan #1

In this post, ‘How to Get the Most from The Safety Artisan #1’ I will show you some of the free resources you can access…

Welcome

Hi everyone, and welcome to The Safety Artisan, my name is Simon and I’m a professional system safety engineer with more than 25 years of experience in various industries.

Simon Di Nucci, FIE(Aust), MSc, CPEng NER

In the next three posts, I’m going to tell you how to get the most from The Safety Artisan website. I’m going to start with the basics. 

Start Here

As the name suggests, start here is a good place for newcomers to start looking at blog posts and lesson videos. Most of them are Free!

Now, before you skip this bit because you’ve done some work in safety before, let me share two things with you.

Concepts

I have worked on many projects where we didn’t have a clear and unambiguous idea of what ‘safe’ means. I’m not joking!

That’s right, we were spending lots of money trying to make something safe, but we didn’t really know what that meant. Surprisingly, the bigger and more expensive the project, the more difficult it is to get a clear picture of the basics. This might sound daft but on a big project, you have to work hard to stay focused on the fundamental principles of what you’re trying to achieve.

If from the very beginning, you can understand clearly what safe means in your particular domain is, and how are you are going to manage risk, then you can arrive at a successful end game. But it’s not easy.

Second, Differences Across Countries and Industries

Another point to note is that many industries do things differently. You may have worked in rail, or in a chemical plant, or with ships, submarines, or planes and you know how safety works in your industry. But it’s still good to learn from others – and their mistakes.

‘Learn from others’ Mistakes’ said Bismark.

I have worked in all of these industries – and more – and I can tell you that the way things are done in different domains varies greatly. So when you’re going for an interview, or when you’re starting a new job, you might get some surprises…

The law on safety (and environmental protection) also varies from country to country. I’ve worked on projects in the UK, Australia, Europe, and the USA, and there are significant differences in practice. In particular, I emigrated from the UK to Australia, and I’ve compared practices in the two countries.

Coming Next…

Next week I will tell you about the more advanced topics that I cover. In the Third Post, I will talk about how you can connect with The Safety Artisan and get the online learning that YOU want.