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Industrial safety concerns systems. These include machines, men, organizations and the environment, i.e. particular types of social systems. Therefore the control problem is primarily one of control of living systems, of organizations and of social systems more than a problem of controlling machines. It is argued that control paradigms currently applied to machines are insufficient. This paper suggests new paradigms to be explored. The exploration begins with considerations of the structure of modern society. These considerations are of high heuristic power, and are to some extent derived from neo-functionalist or systematic sociology. Safety is deeply rooted in the functional differentiation and complexity of industrial society. New paradigms are discussed within the following contexts: the roots of the safety problem; industrial systems as evolutive systems and self-referential systems; industrial systems as to some extent unpredictable and self-organising systems; industrial systems as self-referencing systems. Finally, the relationship between the various facets of an industrial system (such as management, communications and levels of control) as they relate to industrial safety are discussed.

Additional information

Authors: VOLTA G, JRC Ispra Estab. (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: World Bank Workshop on Safety Control and Risk Management, Washington D.C. (US), Oct. 18-20, 1988
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 34336 ORA
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