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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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Cross-Sectoral Critical Tasks and Practices – Building for Resilience

The notion of resilience is broadly used to describe the preparedness and response of modern societies to possible internal and/or external hazards. In a broader context, resilience refers to the ability of an individual, entity, organization, community, system, or system of systems to maintain or return to its normal operational conditions subsequent to an event that perturbs its state. Within this context, in all sectors people at all levels of an organization contribute considerably to enhancing or weakening resilience. To design and build resilience across sectors, it is therefore necessary to account for the human contribution, as well as for the dependencies between and within sectors. For the former, it is important to define the critical tasks and behaviours that affect a system’s resilience not only during abnormal or/and emergency conditions, but also under normal and maintenance operational ones. For the latter, it is essential to identify how different tasks within a sector and between sectors may be dependent, and how such dependencies could affect the overall resilience of a system. Thus, this study focuses on identifying, analysing and comparing critical tasks during normal and disrupted operations in different sectors. The energy and transportation networks are investigated and retrospective analysis of accident and incident data is used to define the most critical tasks. For those tasks, hierarchical task analysis provides detailed insights about their complexity. Differences and similarities, as well as the factors, also known as Performance Shaping Factors (PSFs), that may affect operators’ performance while conducting their duties are then determined. In addition, the identified critical tasks are associated with the different attributes of resilience, including robustness (preparedness), recovery, anticipation and adaptation. We use Spearman correlation to define any potential correlation between the tasks, PSFs and severity of consequences. Finally, we compare and investigate whether tasks with similar attributes in different sectors may have resulted in more resilient performances. Future work will investigate tasks in other sectors, including emergency, communication and healthcare sectors to provide a more comprehensive list of critical tasks and best practices towards building more resilient infrastructure.

Miltos Kyriakidis
Future Resilient Systems - Singapore ETH Centre

Vinh Dang
Paul Sherrer Institut

Stefan Hirschberg
Paul Sherrer Institut


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