By David J. Smith BSc, CEng, FIEE, FIQA, FSaRS, MIGasE (auth.)

The fast progress in use of programmable know-how, in approximately all sectors of Engineering, is a well known proven pattern and one that there's each cause to think will proceed into the foreseeable destiny. The drivers of this development contain fee, flexibility, wealthy performance and sure reliability and safeguard benefits. even though, as defined during this ebook, those merits must be conscientiously weighed opposed to a couple of dis­ benefits which, among different issues, have basic implications for reliability and security. preferably, a programmable process will be seen as a fusion of undefined, software program and consumer (or 'skinware'), working lower than a suite of environmental stipulations. so far, this type of unifying version doesn't exist and so undefined, software program and human elements are nonetheless thought of principally as 3 separate disciplines, albeit with yes interdependencies. proven thoughts can be found which allow the engineer to strengthen platforms comprising merely elements to a prescribed reliability and function. software program, besides the fact that, is essentially various in a couple of methods, and doesn't lend itself to identical research. an enormous challenge with software program is its terrible 'visibility', and for this reason the nice hassle in figuring out and predicting its behaviour in all cir­ cumstances. This leads to the ever present software program layout flaws, or 'bugs', that have plagued the software program from its beginnings.

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Although hardly recent, it is important legislation which imposes responsibilities on everyone. Section 1 sets out general duties for every employer to ensure, as far as is reasonably practical, the health, safety and welfare, at work, of all employees. Section 2 goes into detail as to how these duties can be discharged. Section 3 concerns the duty of employers to conduct undertakings so as not adversely to affect the health or safety of persons other than employees. Section 6 is very important in that it imposes strict liability in respect of articles produced for use at work, although the Consumer Protection Act actually extends this liability to all areas.

C~I~V~IL~LI~A~B~IL~I~T~Y~__~~~~~~------,I Statute law The main statutory Acts are: • The Sale of Goods Act 1979: Goods must be of merchantable quality. Goods must be fit for purpose. • Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 Exclusion of personal injury is void. Exclusion of damage liability is valid only if it is reasonable. • Consumer Protection Act 1987 Imposes strict liability. Replaced the Consumer Safety Act 1978. • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (Section 6) See above. Thus, prior to the Consumer Protection Act 1987 there was a form of strict liability, but: • Privity of contract excluded 3rd parties in contract claims • There was an onus to prove negligence unless there was actually breach of contract • Exclusion clauses involving death and personal injury were void.

Other main duties can be summarized as: • • • • • • design and construct products without risk to health and safety; provide adequate information, to users, for safe operation; carry out research to discover and eliminate risks; make positive tests to evaluate risks and hazards; use safe methods of installation; use safe (proven) substances and materials. -l Li£J Concessions are: • It is a defence that a product has been used without regard to the relevant information supplied by the designer. • It is a defence that the design was carried out on the basis of a written undertaking by the purchaser to take specific steps sufficient to ensure the safe use of the item.

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