An advanced approach to the system safety in sociotechnical systems

Esmaeil Zarei, Faisal Khan*, Rouzbeh Abbassi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The safety performance of sociotechnical systems (STSs) and their main components (e.g., human, organization, and technology) vary due to numerous performance shaping factors (PSFs). However, previous research mainly focused on studying limited PSFs related to human functions, while organization and technology functions have often been ignored. This paper aims to propose a systematic approach to identify PSFs, quantify their importance level and influence on the performance of complex sociotechnical systems’ functions. To this end, we first developed a holistic PSFs Taxonomy based on sociotechnical systems design and then employed novel Interval-Valued Spherical Fuzzy Sets (IVSFS) and Best Worst Method to quantify the importance of performance. We tested the proposed model’s capability on maintenance operations in the chemical process plants and compared the model with the previous research considering fourteen criteria. The findings revealed the approach's effectiveness in dealing with epistemic uncertainty, vagueness, and fuzziness in the knowledge acquisition process. It revealed the critical safety investment factors among different sociotechnical elements and contributing factors to maintenance operations. This helps to effectively allocate safety countermeasures to improve resilience and system safety performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105961
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Performance variability
  • Functional resonance analysis
  • Performance shaping factors
  • System safety
  • Human Factors


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