Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

A Framework to Evaluate the Risk of Human- and Component-related Vulnerability Interactions

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  • Most accidents and malfunctions in complex engineered systems are attributed to human error. However, a closer inspection would reveal that such mishaps often emerge as a result of poor design and human- and component-related vulnerabilities acting together. To fully understand and mitigate potential risks, the effects of such interactions between component and human fallibilities (in addition to their independent effects) need to be considered early in the design process. Existing risk assessment methods either quantify the risk of component failures or human errors in isolation or are only applicable during later design stages. This work takes the view that the combined effects of human errors and component failures are better understood when they are studied together. To this effect, this research introduces an early design stage computational framework to model the system level effects of component failures and human errors. Then, an automated fault scenario generation technique and a severity quantification model are introduced to help designers generate a wide range of potential fault scenarios (involving both humans and components) and prioritize them based on severity. Next, the applicability of the framework to complex engineered systems and the accuracy of scenario generation and severity quantification are explored. Finally, this research demonstrates an application of the framework to promote risk-informed ergonomic assessments with the use of digital human modeling simulations. The ultimate goal of this research is to help designers detect the combined effects of human- and component-related vulnerabilities (in addition to their effects in isolation) in complex engineered systems during early design stages to improve performance and safety while minimizing the potentially costly design changes and rework later in the design stages.
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  • Pending Publication
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  • 2021-09-15 to 2022-10-16



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