EMESRT Control Framework Approach

Control Framework Approach

Since 2017, EMERST has been developing the Control Framework (CFw) approach and this is now a core operational process used for all new Industry projects. A CFw is highly iterative and adaptive process that begins with asking:

‘What has to be in place for work to go right?’


It uses these organising questions to organise the knowledge and experience of contributors:

  • What is the business purpose?
  • What safe and productive operating states are required to deliver the business purpose? 
  • What can cause failure? 
  • What are the business inputs that prevent or mitigate failure?
  • What is the expectation of these business inputs and how are they?
    • Specified
    • Implemented, and
    • Monitored

The CFw approach is aligned with Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, Human Factors, and the definition elements of the ICMM Critical Control Methodology. It allows real-world inputs and experience to be mapped to the safe and productive operating states required to deliver business purpose. 

The mapping step uses these interlinked hierarchical components to develop a deep understanding of complicated problems: 

  • Required Operating States (ROS) that deliver business purpose
  • The Credible Failure Modes (CFM) that can compromise Required Operating States – these are validated by incident experience 
  • The Business Inputs (BI) that support the establishment and maintenance of the required operating states by preventing or mitigating the credible failure modes – these are mapped into the CFw from operational practice

Each Business Input has a clear title, an expectation it should deliver upon, a specification, a description of how it is implemented, and details of how its status is monitored and verified. 


Using the CFw approach establishes both a ‘whole of system’ overview and a structure that is linked to detailed operational practice.  Working this way provides information and insights about the dynamic interconnects between personnel, equipment, the work environment, workgroups carrying out different tasks and overall coordination. This promotes the systematic identification of improvement opportunities. 


It is also flexible approach that allows the ongoing updating of all CFw component descriptions, content, and links as new information becomes available and new insights develop.  Applying the CFw approach produces the networked and hierarchical structure represented in the figure below.

Figure: The hierarchy and components of a CFw.

Developing a Control Framework (CFw) requires the systematic review and assessment of the robustness and reliability of business inputs.  It follows these steps: 

  • Confirm the safe and productive outcomes relevant at an enterprise level, these Required Operating States (ROS) are the basis of CFw organisation, e.g. Operators Give Way 
  • Identify and catalogue the credible failure modes that can compromise each required operating state
  • Based on each credible failure mode, identify the business inputs that prevent or mitigate the required operating states being compromised
  • Using site documentation and knowledge, map how each business input is specified, implemented, and monitored to prepare CFw Version 1
  • Present CFw Version 1 to knowledgeable employees for review, updating and validation to CFw Version 2 (baseline) 
  • From the validation workshop, confirm the opportunities for improvement required to achieve nameplate Mobile Equipment Interaction Control Performance and present for senior management review 
  • Use the CFw information as a reference when considering further improvements to vehicle interaction controls including developing user requirements for technology providers.

For more information regarding the Control Framework approach please send an email to enquiries@emesrt.org.