March 21, 2023 | Justin Clark

Safeguards by Design

Take a moment to learn critical information about Safeguards by design.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published an excellent article on nuclear reactor design called Safeguards By Design (SBD).

Designing in Safeguards is crucial for any design process. A failure to have redundant Safeguards (defense in depth) can lead to an accident. In any industry, once you know what you’re going to execute, Safeguards should be integrated to every design stage.

An example of Safeguards by design: if you designed a table saw but didn’t think about a kickback guard, that would be ridiculously short-sighted.

What about the Safeguards built into four-wheel drive systems to maintain traction in slippery conditions? Here’s a video where one design seems to be superior. . . .

In heavy snow and ice, I’ve driven past many a 4WD trucks in a ditch while driving my 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek with no problems whatsoever.

So, how many and what kind of Safeguards do you need; do you have Safeguards by design?

Your safety reputation, equipment and personnel reliability, and ultimately your organization’s success hinge on properly understanding, designing, and implementing your Safeguard structure.

We’ll be looking at the tool Safeguard Analysis in the TapRooT® System that can be used to:

  • proactively analyze your Safeguards before an accident,
  • analyze your failed Safeguards after an accident, and
  • help you develop additional Safeguards as part of your corrective actions.

Safeguard Analysis in the TapRooT® System

First, what is a Safeguard?

Here’s an easy-to-understand example…

If the wall is bombproof, this might be a good Safeguard. That wall may be a Safeguard by design.

But all Safeguards have a weakness. That can lead to a Safeguard failing that allows an accident to occur…

In the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System, these failed Safeguards become Causal Factors to be analyzed using the Root Cause Tree® Diagram to find the root causes of the Safeguard’s failure.

corrective action

Once you find the root causes of a failed Safeguard, the Corrective Action Helper® Guide (another part of the TapRooT® System) can be used to improve the Safeguard and prevent future accidents.

One must remember that all Safeguards are NOT created equal.

Keep this in mind when developing additional Safeguards or evaluating the adequacy of your existing Safeguards.

Another concept in the development of Safeguards is to consider having defense in depth. We try to minimize the weaknesses of the Safeguards we implement, but for bigger risks, several Safeguards should be adopted to allow the failure of a single Safeguard (or maybe two) without causing a major accident.

We teach these concepts to be used proactively and reactively in our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Course. The figures above are copyrighted material from the course and are used here by permission.

Become Proactive

So how does this relate to Safeguards By design? You need to proactively design, evaluate, and improve your Safeguards not by accident, rather, by design.

Proactive accident prevention will help you become a best-in-class company. However, if your company only uses TapRooT® RCA to investigate major accidents:

“You got some learnin’ to do!”

Proactively preventing accidents by using Safeguard Analysis as part of your proactive improvement program will keep you one step ahead of the competition.

When you eliminate vulnerabilities before they cause an accident, people will return safely to their families. Also, you will prevent equipment failures and lost production time due to unplanned corrective maintenance.

Well done, IAEA. Keep the nuclear industry improving proactively.

Learn More About TapRooT® RCA and Using TapRooT® Proactively

Want to learn more about using TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis and proactive improvement? Consider these courses…

  1. 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training
  2. 2-Day Equifactor® Equipment Troubleshooting & TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis
  3. 2-Day Auditing & Proactive Improvement Using TapRooT®
  4. 2-Day Stopping Human Error

Click on the courses listed above for more information about that course.

CLICK HERE for the dates and locations of upcoming 5-Day TapRooT® Courses.

CLICK HERE for dates and locations of Equifactor® Courses.

CLICK HERE for dates and locations of Auditing/Proactive Improvement Courses

CLICK HERE for dates and locations of Stopping Human Error Courses.

Here is one more idea to help you develop your proactive improvement program….

Attend the 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit.

For a complete guide to the 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit being held at the Margaritaville Lake Resort near Houston, Texas, on April 24-28, CLICK HERE.

If you need more information about the TapRooT® RCA System, proactive improvement, or scheduling a course at your site, CLICK HERE to send us a note or call one of our TapRooT® Implementation Advisors at 865-539-2139.

TapRooT® Implementation Advisors

This article was written by Justin Clark…

Justin Clark is a TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Instructor and the Equifactor® Equipment Troubleshooting Program Director, with nine years of experience as a US Navy Nuclear Submarine Officer.

Operational Excellence, Root Cause Analysis
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