Stein Haugen is Professor in Technical Safety at the Department of Production and Quality Engineering at NTNU. The chair is part of a group of researchers working with Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS).
Technical Safety is a term that is commonly used but not necessarily well defined. In this context, Technical Safety includes the identification of hazards, analysis of risks and using this to decide on the best way to reduce risk, through design and technical means, but also through operational, human and organizational means. Technical safety is also about following up safety systems in operation, to ensure that they remain functional as intended and provide protection against unwanted effects.
To illustrate what this means in practice, transport of dangerous goods, such as LNG, may be used as an example. Technical safety would then firstly cover identification of what hazards are associated with the LNG and analyzing the causes and consequences of accidents. Secondly, technical safety is also about how this information is used to design, operate and maintain the ship and its technical systems such that accidents are avoided and mitigated. Technical safety is therefore a wide field, but a key to success is a thorough understanding of hazards and risks.
From this basis comes the ability to manage the risks, through design and operation. The research focus will therefore be on establishing a better understanding of major accidents, how major accidents occur, how we can avoid them and how we can make better decisions about managing major accident risk.