Software Contracts and Liability
apply to them. Furthermore, they all involve equipment that is controlled by
software and accidents may occur as a result of defects in that software.
Modern manufacturing plants are usually software controlled and can be
dangerous; robots in particular can be dangerous for people working with
them. Modern chemical plants, oil refineries, and power stations, especially
nuclear ones, are all software controlled and software failures can result in
accidents that affect not only the workforce but also the general public.
This book is not the appropriate place to discuss how software is or should
be written in order to meet the high levels of reliability required for safety-
related applications. You should understand clearly, however, that there is
an extensive literature on the subject and that there are national and interna-
tional standards relating to it. An organization that undertakes to develop
safety-related software without employing staff who are familiar with the
appropriate development techniques is likely to be in breach of the Health
and Safety at Work Act. The clause in the BCS Code of Conduct (and similar
clauses in other codes) regarding claims of competence are also relevant.
FURTHER READING
The following book, from the BCS/Springer Practitioner series, covers IT
outsourcing in depth and is written specifically for information systems
professionals. It contains one chapter dedicated to contractual matters:
Sparrow, E. (2003) Successful IT Outsourcing. Springer Verlag, London.
Fuller coverage of the material in this chapter, including health and safety
issues, will be found in Chapters 5, 9 and 10 of:
Bott, M.F., Coleman, J.A., Eaton, J., and Rowland, D. (2001) Professional
Issues in Software Engineering, 3rd Edition. Taylor and Francis, London.
159

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