SAFEONTO- Using ontologies to improve safety learning


The paper follows the development of a general purpose safety ontology (SAFEONTO) that could be used as a tool for safety learning and also a framework for the study of various accidents and incidents happened at work- turning this unexpected events into lessons learned.

Development of SAFEONTO

Based on previous experiences[i] we have tried to develop a general framework for risk and safety, framework that could be expanded as wished by any safety expert. The idea was to have a referential that could be generally used in order to provide an instrument for training and analysis for specific workplaces.
In order to do this we have used knowledge maps built using CMAP TOOLS- and also the PROTEGEE tool for the ontology development.
What should include a general knowledge map?
                -details about the economic activity that generates risks;
                -data about the worker(s) and the machines used in order to perform that activity;
                -some details about the workplace and its specificity;
As we have more data- a transition from general to specific would be made easy. Figure 1 shows the concept behind the ontology. All these building elements are used to develop best-worst case models- that allow us to establish the optimal safety requirements.

Figure 1 Main concepts of the ontology

Figure 2 shows the knowledge map developed as a start-up for the ontology.

Figure 2 Start-up knowledge map

Any economic activity (that could be specifically described) is done by workers (employees) using tools at the workplace. Such an activity is generating risks.
On the next step we have introduced the consequences of the risks, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 Risk development and consequences

One step further we have introduced the safety lane.

Figure 4. The activity and safety lanes

Now we have a functional framework for the ontology. This framework could be developed further as far as is necessary.
On the last step of development we introduce also a use case lane.

Figure 5. The complete knowledge map

The use case is taken from an investigation report and could be automatically transformed into lesson learned.
A further step in the development process would be turning the ontology into a decision assistant system.
The next figure shows the list of concepts.

Figure 6.List of concepts introduced in the ontology


 The development of ontology was an interactive process. We have used the experience of five of the best specialists in safety inside Romania in order to be able to capture the most important parts – the one that are allowing the generalisation used inside the ontology.
Our instrument could be used:
1. to analyse specific unexpected events that are occurring at the workplace;
2. to transform them into lessons learned- in order to improve safety and health at the workplace;
3. to develop specific models that could be used for the decision process;
4. to use the instrument for safety training;
As the main benefits:
-the ontology is model-based, allowing integration of design and safety analysis;
-safety considerations could be introduced early in the development phase
-use of Semantic Web and Ontology standards;
-semantics based interoperability at a language and tool level;