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Model-connected safety cases

Retouniotis, Athanasios


Athanasios Retouniotis


Regulatory authorities require justification that safety-critical systems exhibit acceptable levels of safety. Safety cases are traditionally documents which allow the exchange of information between stakeholders and communicate the rationale of how safety is achieved via a clear, convincing and comprehensive argument and its supporting evidence. In the automotive and aviation industries, safety cases have a critical role in the certification process and their maintenance is required throughout a system’s lifecycle. Safety-case-based certification is typically handled manually and the increase in scale and complexity of modern systems renders it impractical and error prone.

Several contemporary safety standards have adopted a safety-related framework that revolves around a concept of generic safety requirements, known as Safety Integrity Levels (SILs). Following these guidelines, safety can be justified through satisfaction of SILs. Careful examination of these standards suggests that despite the noticeable differences, there are converging aspects. This thesis elicits the common elements found in safety standards and defines a pattern for the development of safety cases for cross-sector application. It also establishes a metamodel that connects parts of the safety case with the target system architecture and model-based safety analysis methods. This enables the semi- automatic construction and maintenance of safety arguments that help mitigate problems related to manual approaches. Specifically, the proposed metamodel incorporates system modelling, failure information, model-based safety analysis and optimisation techniques to allocate requirements in the form of SILs. The system architecture and the allocated requirements along with a user-defined safety argument pattern, which describes the target argument structure, enable the instantiation algorithm to automatically generate the corresponding safety argument. The idea behind model-connected safety cases stemmed from a critical literature review on safety standards and practices related to safety cases. The thesis presents the method, and implemented framework, in detail and showcases the different phases and outcomes via a simple example. It then applies the method on a case study based on the Boeing 787’s brake system and evaluates the resulting argument against certain criteria, such as scalability. Finally, contributions compared to traditional approaches are laid out.


Retouniotis, A. (2020). Model-connected safety cases. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date May 11, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Computer science
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Computer Science, The University of Hull
Award Date Oct 1, 2020


Thesis (6 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2020 Retouniotis, Athanasios. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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