Computers in engineering risk and hazard management


The engineering of large scale facilities, such as dams, power stations, bridges etc, involves the handling of large amounts of information. Managers of the design and construction process have to take on a wide range of roles to cope with it all. One important aspect of this information is that concerned with safety, risk and hazard management. This paper is divided into three sections each covering different aspects of a common approach to this problem. The analysis of risk using traditional reliability techniques is not covered. The concern here is rather with the use of computers to support and inform the direct management of quality, safety and hazard and hence to indirectly control risk. Firstly, the approach based on the use of “Interacting Objects” will be outlined. This will be illustrated through the use of IT to support business processes in quality management. Product and process models will be compared. Safety, risk and hazard are part of quality. Secondly, the use of these objects in physical process simulation will be described. Here the motivation for the work is to begin to look at the implications for risk analysis of the sensitivity of the behaviour of simulated non-linear systems to initial conditions. Thirdly, the identification and management of “proneness to failure” in a project will be outlined. Here the problem is how to deal with the difficult interaction between technology and human and organisational factors.

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Correspondence to David I. Blockley.

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Blockley, D.I. Computers in engineering risk and hazard management. ARCO 2, 67 (1995).

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