Can complexity-thinking methods contribute to improving occupational safety in industry 4.0? A review of safety analysis methods and their concepts

Arie Adriaensen*, Wilm Decré, Liliane Pintelon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With the introduction of Industry 4.0, occupational health and safety finds itself confronted with new types of hazards. Many Industry 4.0 innovations involve increased machine intelligence. These properties make socio-technical work in Industry 4.0 applications inherently more complex. At the same time, system failure can become more opaque to its users. This paper reviews and assesses safety analysis methods as the breakdown of interaction coupling in socio-technical systems on the one hand, and the degree of failure tractability on the other hand; the latter being used as a proxy for complexity. Previous literature confirms that traditional health and safety risk assessment methods are unable or are 'ill-equipped' to deal with these system properties. This paper studies the need to introduce new paradigms and safety methods related to complexity thinking with theories borrowed from the study of complex adaptive systems, all to assess the arena of abruptly changing hazards introduced by Industry 4.0. At the same time, this review makes clear that there is no one-solution-fits-all method. Occupational health and safety (OHS) covers many different hazard types and will need a combination of old, new and yet-to-be-developed safety assessment methods.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbersafety5040065
JournalSafety
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Complexity thinking
  • Industry 4.0
  • Occupational safety
  • Resilience engineering
  • Risk assessment
  • Safety analysis methods
  • Safety-II
  • Systems thinking

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Can complexity-thinking methods contribute to improving occupational safety in industry 4.0? A review of safety analysis methods and their concepts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this