U.S. Particle Accelerator School

System Safety and Safety Systems for Accelerators course

Sponsoring University:

University of Tennessee, Knoxville


System Safety and Safety Systems for Accelerators


Kelly Mahoney, Jefferson Lab

Purpose and Audience
This course covers the regulatory, theory, and practical steps required to justify, design, and manage personnel and machine safety systems unique to accelerators and other physics research facilities. The course addresses both context and content of complex issues associated with computer based safety systems. The course is beneficial to physicists, engineers, computer scientists, health physicists, and managers responsible for developing or managing safety systems. The content is relevant to attendees from U.S. and international facilities. This session will also address emerging risks such as cyber security as well the latest design approaches. It is suitable for last year undergraduate students or higher who have an interest in safety system design and lifecycle management. The American Academy of Health Physics will award 32 Continuing Education Credits for Certified Health Physicists who participate in this course.

Undergraduate background in a physical science or engineering and mathematics at least through linear algebra. Basic knowledge of a spreadsheet program is helpful.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.

Through the context of system safety practices, we introduce the basic lifecycle steps and skills required for accelerator safety system analysis, design, and management. The basic skills include: hazard and risk assessment methods; requirements development; initiating event calculations; safety function definition and evaluation; and selected design architectures. By the end of the course, the student will have a basic understanding of each of the lifecycle steps, requirements and deliverables for each step, and how to tailor them to their facility.

Instructional Method
The course will include a series of lectures with PowerPoint presentations and related handouts. There will be 2-3 group exercises that introduce students to hazard assessment tools and risk modeling. Homework problem sets are assigned each day and are expected to be completed outside of scheduled class sessions. Some of the assignments require the use of a spreadsheet program available on the USPAS computers. The instructor will be available during the evening homework sessions. The final exam will include multiple choice and problem sets.

Course Content
Course content includes a basic introduction to system safety in accelerators, followed by a discussion on safety terminology (i.e. hazard, risk, accidents, reliability) as it relates to scientific research facilities. The concept of lifecycle management will be introduced early. Lifecycle relationships are stressed throughout the remainder of the course as they relate to each of the following: regulatory requirements; standards and practices (includes review of IEC, IEEE, ANSI, and NCRP/ICRP material); risk models (e.g. Event Tree, FTA, Markov, STAMP/STPA); safety functions; architectures; software; and cyber security. Additional topics may be presented as time allows including safety PLCs, operational considerations, human factors, certification and testing, cost/value analysis, beam burn-through, oxygen deficiency, and final devices/critical devices. These topics will be included in the course notes.

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by the USPAS) Reliability, Maintainability and Risk: Practical Methods for Engineers including Reliability Centred Maintenance and Safety-Related Systems (8th Edition) by David J. Smith, Elsevier Science (2011). Students will be provided with a reading list approximately 30 days before the scheduled class dates.

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on performance as follows: homework (50% of final grade), class participation (25% of final grade) and final examination (25% of final grade).

IU/USPAS course number P671