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Safety Cases – what can we learn from Science?

  • Steve Kinnersly
Conference paper

Abstract

Safety cases typically aim to show that a system is safe through constructive argument supported by evidence: ‘the system is safe’ is shown to be true as a logical (or at least compelling) consequence of appropriate evidence. This paper considers an alternative point of view based on scientific method. Specifically, ‘the system is safe’ is viewed as a hypothesis to be challenged. The hypothesis cannot be shown to be true but trust can be built up by it surviving extensive, rigorous challenge. This approach is shown to have implications that appear to go some way towards addressing certain criticisms of safety cases raised in the Haddon-Cave report into the loss of Nimrod XV230. Some safety standards and regulatory requirements are examined from the viewpoint of ‘hypothesis and challenge’.

Keywords

Structure Argument Normal Science Credible Theory Major Accident Safety Case 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. CAA (2003) CAP670 Air traffic services safety requirements. Civil Aviation AuthorityGoogle Scholar
  2. Cullen (1990) The public inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster. HM Stationery Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Haddon-Cave C (2009) The Nimrod review. The Stationery Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. IEC (2002) IEC 61508 Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems, Part 1. International Electrotechnical CommissionGoogle Scholar
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  6. MoD (2007) Defence standard 00-56 Issue 4. Safety management requirements for defence systems: part 1 requirements; part 2 guidance on establishing a means of complying with part 1. Ministry of DefenceGoogle Scholar
  7. Popper KR (1959) The logic of scientific discovery. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Popper KR (1963) Conjectures and refutations. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Kinnersly
    • 1
  1. 1.ESR TechnologyWarringtonUK

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