Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Context: Many critical systems must comply with safety standards as a way of providing assurance that they do not pose undue risks to people, property, or the environment. Safety compliance is a very demanding activity, as the standards can consist of hundreds of pages and practitioners typically have to show the fulfilment of thousands of safety-related criteria. Furthermore, the text of the standards can be ambiguous, inconsistent, and hard to understand, making it difficult to determine how to effectively structure and manage safety compliance information. These issues become even more challenging when a system is intended to be reused in another application domain with different applicable standards. Objective: This paper aims to resolve these issues by providing a metamodel for the specification of safety compliance needs for critical systems. Method: The metamodel is holistic and generic, and abstracts common concepts for demonstrating safety compliance from different standards and application domains. Its application results in the specification of "reference assurance frameworks" for safety-critical systems, which correspond to a model of the safety criteria of a given standard. For validating the metamodel with safety standards, parts of several standards have been modelled by both academic and industry personnel, and other standards have been analysed. We further augment this with feedback from practitioners, including feedback during a workshop. Results: The results from the validation show that the metamodel can be used to specify safety compliance needs for aerospace, automotive, avionics, defence, healthcare, machinery, maritime, oil and gas, process industry, railway, and robotics. Practitioners consider that the metamodel can meet their needs and find benefits in its use.