Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Context. In many application domains, critical systems must comply with safety standards. This involves gathering safety evidence in the form of artefacts such as safety analyses, system specifications, and testing results. These artefacts can evolve during a system's lifecycle, creating a need for change impact analysis to guarantee that system safety and compliance are not jeopardised. Objective. We aim to provide new insights into how safety evidence change impact analysis is addressed in practice. The knowledge about this activity is limited despite the extensive research that has been conducted on change impact analysis and on safety evidence management. Method. We conducted an industrial survey on the circumstances under which safety evidence change impact analysis is addressed, the tool support used, and the challenges faced. Results. We obtained 97 valid responses representing 16 application domains, 28 countries, and 47 safety standards. The respondents had most often performed safety evidence change impact analysis during system development, from system specifications, and fully manually. No commercial change impact analysis tool was reported as used for all artefact types and insufficient tool support was the most frequent challenge. Conclusion. The results suggest that the different artefact types used as safety evidence co-evolve. In addition, the evolution of safety cases should probably be better managed, the level of automation in safety evidence change impact analysis is low, and the state of the practice can benefit from over 20 improvement areas.