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Discussion on the Issues of Safety and Sustainability of Fragmented Systems

Sat, September 1, 11:00am to 12:30pm, ICC, E3.9


In today’s private and public organisations world, systems’ fracturing is an important problem. As a result of the increasing number of sub-systems and of a profusion of interfaces and interdependencies between them and between the actors of the system, safety practitioners feel submerged by their complexity. That have worsen the difficulty to embrace the question of how a failure affecting the system as a whole or affecting some sub-system can have an impact on safety and increase risks for the organisation and for the society. To the complexity characterizing technologies and socio-technical systems, an additional level of complexity was added by using more complex operating, management and governance systems. The original hierarchical structure in organisations is replaced by an outside contractual relationship. Therefore, a lack of direct control might result in a more difficult technical system management. This may induce the incapacity to identify problems and incapacity to enforce solutions. The profusion of contracts and of actors could be an expression of the explosion of the number of interfaces between the organisation and its contractors.
We start the paper by introducing and discussing the two French approaches and the design and innovation principles to be able to stand by our conceptual framework. We will then introduce two situations in France where we diagnostic the fractioned systems in term of risk governance. The first situation is related to the railway transportation system and the second to a typical situation of outsourcing within an organisation. Then, we will discuss the conclusions of the diagnostics of the two systems using a historical and a chronological perspective. Finally, we will conclude on usefulness of systematically diagnosing current or ongoing fractioned systems regarding their risk governance.