luni, 30 martie 2015


1. Knowledge and Safety

Knowledge is a tricky thing. Too less knowledge- would lead to defective activities, loss and incidents and even accidents in the future. Too much knowledge, without being focused on a specific objective, being cordoned so to achieve certain things- could be unusable.
In between- an improved safety at the workplace should be based on knowledge.
For a new activity, the process of knowledge development is shown in figure 1.
Previous knowledge leads to a new economic activity.
The activity generates theoretic (T) knowledge (which would describe the new activity domain in textbooks) and also heuristic knowledge- that is knowledge resulting from experience (performing the activity).
From the safety point of view, the heuristic knowledge gives us:
-best practice knowledge  or How to Do (HTD) knowledge- that gives the necessary steps in order to perform the activity;
-trial and error (TAE) knowledge- that gives us the risks linked with the new activity, possible human errors (or technical problems) that should be avoided and also possible unwanted consequences.
So finally we could consider that


Where SK is safety knowledge, T is theoretical knowledge, HTD is How to Do knowledge and TAE is Trial and Error knowledge.
This generic equation could be useful in the design of safety courses, taking into account the necessity to provide also TAE type knowledge (less used).
An important question would be- which kind of safety knowledge is needed most?
As theoretical knowledge is giving us the basis of safety for the new activity (like never mix non-compatible substances), How to Do knowledge is giving us practical advice on how to start and perform things – Trial and Error knowledge is perhaps one of the most instruments in assuring safety- giving us what not to do in the case of a specific activity- and what unwanted consequences could be as we are doing something wrong. TAE knowledge could not be designed (as HTD), could not be simulated and is invaluable because it gives us other undesired experiences.

Figure 1. Knowledge development

2. Knowledge maps

Knowledge should be collected (especially the TAE one), processed and offered to the user- the safety user- in the most usable form. Here we must take into account that:
-the user is heavily involved in a current activity- that should be done with specific results- and no loss or scrap;
-the user should assure his/hers safety and also should contribute to the safety of the team;
-the user that is designing or improving processes or activities should have enough and updated knowledge in order to safe design an activity or process for mid and long term.
-the user had a very limited amount of time in order to search, find and implement safety knowledge;
Here, the (safety) knowledge map could be an answer to (safety) organized knowledge, focused toward attaining a specific goal- to ensure safety in design, development and at workplace  
A knowledge map could be considered as an association of items of information, preferably visual, where the association leads to new information.
So, we could consider a Knowledge Map as a visual instrument to collect process and ordinate in an optimal form specific knowledge (in this case safety related knowledge).
 In learning, knowledge maps could be used to imitate a learning process- presenting the terms and the link between them- and also to imprint a chunk of specific learning. The target of knowledge maps are the students- which will receive the best knowledge- processed in an optimal learning form- and also trainers and teachers - which could use knowledge maps to design their course, structure it and develop it step by step. Knowledge maps would be very significant in safety- as they are offering processed and immediate usable knowledge
Figure 2 shows the link between safety specific knowledge and knowledge maps.

Figure 2 Safety Specific Knowledge and Knowledge Maps.

3. Experiments- main steps in developing a knowledge map

We have tried the usability of specific instruments for the development of knowledge maps.
Such an instrument should be used by the safety expert in designing or improving safety at the workplace, as a tool for structuring the safety knowledge and also in the preparation of safety courses.
The safety expert should:
1. Choose the proper instrument;
2. Develop a draft safety knowledge map- for the domain of interest;
3. Verify:
            3.1. the correctitude of the developed map;
3.2. the completitude of the knowledge map- as there should be included at least the main safety elements and aspects; safety maps could be refined by a step-by-step refinement process- in order to become exhaustive and to include all the needed knowledge;
4. Develop successive knowledge maps- increasing the degree of detail; also there could be developed knowledge maps for the manager (or supervisor) of the process, for training, for the employee that performs an important activity (for example the controller of a process activity);
5. Link all the available knowledge at the map (the knowledge map offers the possibility to link for online knowledge – Internet based- and also for the process specific- off-line knowledge- as local running pppt s for example).
6. Test the knowledge map on employees from the domain. The test part is very important as the users could consider that the knowledge maps includes- for example- too much theoretical knowledge and too less HTD one;
7. Implement the obtained feedback in the knowledge map;
8. Publish the knowledge map and make it available to others. Knowledge- and also knowledge maps- should be free- as sharing knowledge- and safety knowledge- is a good thing- not just for the receiver- but also for the sharer. As the late professor Trevor Kletz shows us”the not shared experience is a lost experience. People are retiring, changing their workplace or service- and the experience that is not shared- is lost”.
Here are some of the most significant aspects of our experiments.

Once started the instrument (here the KnowledgeBase Builder software) - the working space appears- like in figure 3.

Figure 3 The working space

By double-clicking on the ”Create a new item” a dialog window is opening- allowing to define the new item, to describe it and even place it in a specific category- like it could be seen on the figure 4.

Figure 4. Definition mechanism

Starting from the central item- new items could be created by a drag and drop method.

Figure 5. Drag and drop for new items

Once fixed the pointer in the circle named as place for drag and drop- it could be dragged- then- on the working space- in order to create a new item
The construction could be seen in figure 6, 7 and 8.

                                          Figure 6. The pilot knowledge map- 1

Figure 7.The pilot knowledge map-different view-2

Figure 8 Same maps done with other tool

Links to the specific Web pages could be defined like in figure 9.

Figure 9 Link to specific Web page

Each item could access specific search engines- like in the figure 10

Figure 10 Access to specific search engines

4. Conclusion

Knowledge maps could be an important asset in a better safety based on knowledge. As the work with such instruments is relatively easy- and there are available free- the safety knowledge map could be significant developments in safety. Portable devices- as tablets and even smartphones- could be used for visualizing and using such maps.
A special place for knowledge maps would be safety training. Here knowledge maps could be used in the opening of a safety course- like an intelligent table of contents- and also for imprinting the course content for the learners.
Knowledge maps could collect and quantify individual safety experience- a very good thing considering TAE specific knowledge.

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