Re: [SystemSafety] Static Analysis

From: Peter Bernard Ladkin < >
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2014 08:46:52 +0100

On 3 Mar 2014, at 08:02, Patrick Graydon <patrick.graydon_at_xxxxxx
> Hmm. While my (possibly ill-informed) opinion is that the non-safety world over-uses a try-it-and-see approach, I wonder if we can categorically say that try-it-and-see is /never/ appropriate in safety.

Most obviously, you are constrained by the regulatory environment. If it is for rail in Germany, then the kit must be approved for use by the regulator. It is replacing some kit or other, usually, so it must be demonstrated and documented to be at least as safe as that which it is replacing. It's the law. You don't get to "try it and see".

Similarly, development according to IEC 61508 and "derivatives" (which often aren't really) requires that you demonstrate that the requirements of the standard have been met. In some jurisdictions (not all European countries, but some), you can be criminally liable if your kit breaks and you hurt someone, and you didn't develop according to IEC 61508 provisions. Indeed, there is a European Directive from 2008 about products which might cause harm. It is required a risk assessment be performed to determine if the risk is acceptable or unacceptable. The directive issues from 2008, but it usually takes a year or two for it to make it into national laws (Germany was 2011). There, you don't get to 'try it and see' either.

Now, exactly how far people conform to all this is, as usual, a matter for social negotiation. But if you want to 'try it and see' for safety-critical kit of almost any description, then that had better be tinkering inside an already-acceptable risk situation or you risk prosecution if something goes wrong, modulo the enforcement situation. In Britain, you also have ALARP to worry about.

Broadly speaking, Les's observation that no, you can't do that with safety-critical kit is thus ensconsed in European practice and law. How far that situation actually governs what people do is another matter. Like the treaty (then law) which says you can only run an annual budget deficit of 3%, broken within three years by France, then Germany............

PBL Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, University of Bielefeld and Causalis Limited

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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Mon Mar 03 2014 - 08:47:01 CET

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