The descriptions are for modules currently being taught. They should be viewed as an example of the modules we provide. All modules are subject to change for later academic years.

Introduction to System Safety (SSG) 2010/1

Workload - Private Study - Assessment - Description - Learning Outcomes - Content - Teaching Materials - Recommended Books

Module Code 0640516
Lecturers David Pumfrey, Mark Nicholson
Taken By GTC
Number of Credits 10
Part B
Teaching Spr/2
Open Assessment [100%] Spr/2/Thu -> Spr/9/Wed
Feedback: Spr/13/Wed

Module Prerequisites

Prerequisite knowledge

There are no prerequisites for this course. Looking at an introductory book such as Kritzinger before hand may be helpful.


  • Lectures: 35 x 1hr
  • Private Study: 30hrs
  • Assessment: 35hrs

The teaching for this module combines traditional lectures with a number of exercises and case studies which will be tackled in small groups.

Private Study

Students are expected to read around the subject. Many of the exercises and case studies contain more material than can be completed in the group sessions, and students are expected to continue working on these in private study time.


Open Assessment

Typically three questions to be answered.

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is given in the form of answers to questions in class, comments from case study demonstrators, model answers for case studies where available and individual written feedback on the assessment paper.


This module provides an introduction to system safety engineering. It is intended to provide a basic understanding of safety processes and of certification which are required by all engineers. This module is an introduction to the principles of system safety and dependability by design, including risk, basic terminology, and the main types of hazard and safety assessment techniques employed within a control system development project. This module therefore aims to provide:

  • An awareness of the primary concepts and range of issues associated with achieving and assuring safety;
  • An understanding of the role of safety analysis techniques in achievement and assurance of safety;
  • An initial ability to apply key safety analysis techniques.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Understand (safety) risk, and the factors influencing perception and acceptability of risk;
  • Be able to give definitions of safety-related terminology, and discuss how the use of terminology varies between countries and industrial sectors;
  • Have an understanding of typical control system safety lifecycles, and the roles of the major groups of safety and dependability techniques within the lifecycle, including their roles in driving and evaluating designs and design alternatives;
  • Understand the approach to certification in domains such as civil aerospace, and the role of safety analysis techniques in certification.


  • Introduction and Concepts (Introduction to accidents, hazards and risk; Formal definitions of terminology; Accident and incident analysis; Introduction to system safety lifecycles; Preliminary Hazard Identification; Basic risk concepts; Role of safety process in certification.)
  • Safety Requirements (Types of safety requirement, including derived requirements; Setting of safety requirements, including role of FFA; Systematic Failure and DALs; Introduction to dependability and dependability data; Reliability, availability and dispatchability.)
  • Analysis of Dependability (Overview of analysis techniques (FMEA, FMECA, FTA, common cause analysis); FMECA for mechanical elements, and links to safety cases; Role of Markov analysis; Preliminary System Safety Assessment (PSSA) process.)
  • Design to Achieve Safety (Strategies and priorities for controlling risk; Technical approaches to controlling risk such as fault tolerance; Value and drawbacks of different classes of architecture; ; Relationship between maintenance and availability.)
  • Management of Safety (Safety Cases: safety argument and evidence; Certification processes and practices; Safety management overview; Overview of continued airworthiness issues.)

Teaching Materials

Copies of all lecture slides, case studies and exercises will be provided.

Recommended Books

Rating Author Title Publisher Year
**** D. Kritzinger Aircraft System Safety Woodhead 2006
**** JD ANdrews, TR Moss Riability and Risk Assessment Professional Engineering Publishing 2006
*** C.A. Ericson II Hazard Analysis Techniques for System Safety Wiley 2006
*** FAA System Safety Handbook FAA on web 2007
*** Nureg Fault Tree Handbook Nureg 1973
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Last updated: 1st June 2011