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MORM—A Petri Net Based Model for Assessing OH&S Risks in Industrial Processes: Modeling Qualitative Aspects

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Abstract:

Because of the increase in workplace automation and the diversification of industrial processes, workplaces have become more and more complex. The classical approaches used to address workplace hazard concerns, such as checklists or sequence models, are, therefore, of limited use in such complex systems. Moreover, because of the multifaceted nature of workplaces, the use of single-oriented methods, such as AEA (man oriented), FMEA (system oriented), or HAZOP (process oriented), is not satisfactory. The use of a dynamic modeling approach in order to allow multiple-oriented analyses may constitute an alternative to overcome this limitation. The qualitative modeling aspects of the MORM (man-machine occupational risk modeling) model are discussed in this article. The model, realized on an object-oriented Petri net tool (CO-OPN), has been developed to simulate and analyze industrial processes in an OH&S perspective. The industrial process is modeled as a set of interconnected subnets (state spaces), which describe its constitutive machines. Process-related factors are introduced, in an explicit way, through machine interconnections and flow properties. While man-machine interactions are modeled as triggering events for the state spaces of the machines, the CREAM cognitive behavior model is used in order to establish the relevant triggering events. In the CO-OPN formalism, the model is expressed as a set of interconnected CO-OPN objects defined over data types expressing the measure attached to the flow of entities transiting through the machines. Constraints on the measures assigned to these entities are used to determine the state changes in each machine. Interconnecting machines implies the composition of such flow and consequently the interconnection of the measure constraints. This is reflected by the construction of constraint enrichment hierarchies, which can be used for simulation and analysis optimization in a clear mathematical framework. The use of Petri nets to perform multiple-oriented analysis opens perspectives in the field of industrial risk management. It may significantly reduce the duration of the assessment process. But, most of all, it opens perspectives in the field of risk comparisons and integrated risk management. Moreover, because of the generic nature of the model and tool used, the same concepts and patterns may be used to model a wide range of systems and application fields.

Keywords: Industrial processes; Petri nets; modeling; occupational health and safety

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0272-4332.2004.00562.x

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Occupational Health Sciences IST, Switzerland. 2: Department of Computer Science, University of Geneva, Switzerland. 3: Software Engineering Laboratory, Switzerland.

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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