The Development and Validation of the Energy Transfer/Change Hazard Identification Method (ETHCIM)
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The world is a system that is comprised of many different types of systems that are all intertwined, creating a map of the inner workings of modern day society. The very existence of systems introduces conditions of failure, which are often referred to as hazards. Conducting a hazard analysis of a system can help designers foresee these undesired conditions of failure. The limitations of current hazard identification methods must be addressed because systems are still failing in unexpected ways. In order to create a new method for identifying hazards, an in-depth literature review is completed to understand work that has already been done, and in what areas current work can be improved. It is suggested that accidents may be viewed from an energy perspective. To explore this perspective, a case study exercise that analyzes product liability cases involving mechanical systems is completed. With the validation of seeing accidents from an energy perspective, a general structure for the method is proposed. The new partially automated method known as the ETCHIM focuses on energy within the system and aids the designer in identifying hazards based on any unwanted changes or transfers of that energy. To assess the ETCHIM, an experiment involving human subjects is designed and conducted that compares the performance of the ETCHIM to the existing What-If/Checklist method. The results of the experiment show that the ETCHIM identifies more hazards than the What-If/Checklist. A change is made to the ETCHIM’s automation that is a suggested improvement of the method. A second experiment is conducted to test the performance of the improved ETCHIM against the original. The equal performance could be attributed to an inadequate training scheme.
Hopkins, Shelby Elizabeth (2017). The Development and Validation of the Energy Transfer/Change Hazard Identification Method (ETHCIM). Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from