Basic Guide to System Safety, 3rd Edition

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Basic Guide to System Safety, 3rd Edition by Jeffrey W. Vincoli

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The third edition of the Basic Guide to System Safety contains all of the content of the previous editions, updated (where applicable) to reflect current industry practice. The first edition of the Basic Guide to System Safety was the first volume issued in a series of Basic Guide books that focused on the topics of interest to the practicing occupational safety and/or health professional. Other books in the Series include the Basic Guide to Environmental Compliance, Basic Guide to Accident Investigation and Loss Control, and Basic Guide to Industrial Hygiene. Each book has been designed to provide the reader with a fundamental understanding of the subject and attempt to foster a desire for additional information and training.

In addition to updated content of the previous editions, the revised third edition of the Basic Guide to System Safety introduces some system safety concepts not previously discussed to further expand upon the basic knowledge that is the cornerstone of the Basic Guide Series. In this regard, the third edition contains a discussion on the concept of Design for Safe Construction where the methods and techniques associated with the system safety discipline can be effectively utilized to identify, analyze, eliminate, or control system hazards during the design phase of a construction project. As with all analytical methods and techniques presented in this text, it is suggested that the concept of design for construction safety has definite application to general industry operations.

Also, information on the use of the various methods and techniques associated with the use of system safety has been expanded in the third edition to include guidance on the evaluation and verification of compliance efforts following the implementation of system safety analysis. This additional information will attempt to close-the-loop on the effective use of system safety analysis in the industrial safety environment.

It should be noted from the onset that it is not and never has been the intention of the Basic Guide to System Safety to provide any level of expertise beyond that of novice. Those practitioners and users who desire complete knowledge of the subject will not be satisfied with the information contained on these pages. It is not practical or feasible to expect a “basic guidebook” to contain all possible technical information on any subject, especially one as complex as system safety. However, those that require or perhaps only desire a basic understanding of a field similar but distinctly separate from their current area of specialization will find the third edition of Basic Guide to System Safety a valuable reference source and introductory primer. It is also assumed that those currently involved in the practice of system safety engineering and analysis might find this material somewhat enjoyable and, at the very least, refreshing. Also, professionals not directly involved in the system safety effort but who must work in association with those that are, will also find this text useful.

Finally, although the books in the Basic Guide Series were always originally intended for the practicing safety professional, the Series has been proven to be quite useful as textbooks for introductory courses in numerous colleges and universities. In this regard, the third edition will provide some additional fodder for enhancing existing primer courses on the subject.

It has long been known by practicing safety and health professionals that organizations with excellent safety performance records have a well-rounded corporate policy or at least a firmly established administrative posture that consistently emphasizes the importance and value of working safely. The leadership of such organizations has provided their strong (and intelligent) commitment in support of the safety effort. Therefore, this text concentrates especially upon the concepts that all executives should understand concerning the role that safety programs play in the successful operation of a business. No less of a commitment is necessary to properly implement system safety into an already established occupational/industrial safety and health program.

It is also recognized that, in order to achieve operationally safe system performance, system safety programs must be conducted with defined purpose, proficiency, skill, and a sense of well-rounded responsibility to the needs of the organization that the system safety program is intended to serve. In such a supportive environment, the system safety effort can and will become a vital contributor to the overall success of the enterprise.

This text places considerable emphasis on the integration of system safety principles and practices into the total framework of the organization. Anything less would constitute unsound business management. In the 20 years since the publication of the first edition of Basic Guide to System Safety, this very concept has been tested and proven viable numerous times by the author and other safety and health practitioners. There are examples of the successful integration of system safety methodologies into the practice of safety and health assurance in general industry, construction, rail, maritime, and aviation. It works, as long as there is understanding and commitment.

In short, the third edition of Basic Guide to System Safety follows tradition of the previous two editions. Safety and health professionals, as well as managers, engineers, technicians, designers, and college professors and their students should obtain some benefit from the information contained in this book.



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