FRS Lunch Talk: The Human Element in Resilience Assessment


28 Oct 2016 | The role of humans is crucial in nearly all complex systems, when system performance is viewed in terms of safety as well as of resilience.

The human element in resilience assessment: potentials, challenges, and a proposed way forward.

The role of the human element is crucial in nearly all complex systems, when system performance is viewed in terms of safety as well as of resilience.

In the probabilistic safety assessments of nuclear power plants, a quantitative treatment of the human role is standard practice. Probability estimates for decisions, actions, potential errors, and for scenarios as a whole, provide measures of importance and significance that are essential in deciding which system weaknesses to address.

In the context of resilience, a broad spectrum of approaches for addressing human and organisational aspects are being applied or under consideration. However, prospective, quantitative approaches have received relatively little attention.

The talk will present an overview of the evolution and state-of-the-art of human reliability analysis (HRA) methods, the methods for treating the human element in probabilistic safety assessment (PSA).

Dr Vinh Dang will discuss the connection between this evolution and the developments in safety management, looking at the nuclear power plant domain as an example. Finally, the relationships between safety and resilience are presented, identifying the main elements of human reliability that could prove useful in resilience assessment  i.e. analysing a system’s preparedness to cope with expected and unexpected events.

The speaker

Dr Vinh Dang currently leads the Risk and Human Reliability Group at the Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis at the Paul Scherrer
Institute (PSI) in Switzerland, after joining PSI in 1994. At the Future Resilient Systems programme of the Singapore-ETH Centre, he is the principal investigator of the People and Operations in Resilient Systems research module.

Vinh Dang has a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, and M.S. und Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), all in Nuclear Engineering. His research interests are in Human Reliability Analysis, dynamic simulation-based safety assessment, and novel applications of PSA. In addition to research in these areas, the Risk and Human Reliability Group performs regulatory support for the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI).

In addition, he is active in applying PSAs in other domains, notably for PSI’s Proton Therapy facilities. He is a member of the Nuclear Energy Agency CSNI Working Group on Risk Assessment (WGRisk) and the Swiss delegate to the Programme Group (Man-Technology-Organization) for the OECD Halden Project.

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