Early warning sign attributes for the safety of drinking water treatment works

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Feehan, John
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University College Cork
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A proactive risk management strategy seeks to prevent accidents from taking place and maintain the safety of a system. In this context, the task of identifying and disseminating early warning signs and signals is among the most important. The problem is that warning signs that are present before an accident takes place are often being overlooked and not picked up or identified as warning signs. If these warning signs were responded to, then an accident may be averted. Accidents occuring in the critical domain of a drinking water treatments works can have serious implications for the public health of consumers of the water supplied. Realising and comprehending early warning signs is a major challenge for the domain of systems safety and especially in the domain of a water treatment works. The approaches that are typically used to enhance the realisation, comprehension and dissemination of early warning signs in the water treatment domain in Ireland mainly involves the creation of accident scenarios, the use of monitoring data and procedures for the dissemination of warnings. While all of these approaches are all useful to inform the mental or process models of possible accident scenarios, nevertheless, accidents are still occurring in this domain. Therefore, a new approach to enhance the comprehension of and effective dissemination of early warning signs is required in order to improve safety and proactive risk management strategies. The contributions of this thesis is the provision of a set of attributes associated with the early warning sign concept that provides meaningful data on the early warning signs and allows recipients to better comprehend them. The values of these attributes were customised for application in the water treatment domain. This research proves that early warning signs at a water treatment works received with information on their attributes are comprehended and communicated more effectively and efficiently than the usual pragmatic approach and thereby improves the safety and proactive risk management strategies.
Water treatment , Safety
Feehan, J. 2013. Early warning sign attributes for the safety of drinking water treatment works. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.