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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Management of Health and Safety at Work

Regulations 1992
require employers to carry out risk assessments,
make arrangements to implement necessary
measures, appoint competent people and arrange
for appropriate information and training


??? CHA



Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods


"The assessment and management of risk is fundamental in the provision of a safe

and healthy working environment. In addition to being a legal requirement in many
circumstances, risk assessment is an essential tool in the determination and
prioritisation of control measures"1.

In order to realise this risk assessment, a lot of methods have been developed by the
risk professionals and then adopted in international regulations or standards. These
methods are most of the time easily understanding, but because of the wide variety of
them, the choice is sometimes difficult. At first sight, lots of Risk Assessment Methods
seems to be all the same, but they have all different aims and results; some methods
analyse probability of hazard, others search the root or immediate causes of an accident,
or try to demonstrate a failure in the system,…

This essay will try to explain briefly 10 of these methods, and also to be a guide for
the choice of the most suitable risk assessment method in each cases.

A crucial distinction between different hazard/risk analysis methods is whether the

analysis starts with a component failure and tries to investigate the possible effects on
the occurrence of hazards (that I will call : Type 1 Methods), or whether they start with a
specific hazard an try to trace back by which sorts of component failures they may be
caused (Type 2 Methods)2.

Extract from the Risk Management University Course 1999 - Shirley Fantie, Senior Lecturer.
NB : Most of this essay is extract from the Geoff Wells' book : "Hazard Identification &Risk Assessment" ; Report
to this book for further information on Risk Assessment Methods.
Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Type 1 Methods

Component HAZARDS

"Investigate the possible effects on the

occurrence of hazards"
1 Fault Tree Analysis - FTA

Fault Tree Analysis3 are widely used as communication aids to demonstrate system
failures and their development to manager, designers and operator. The use of fault tree
in qualitative analysis demonstrates the effect of system failure modes and design

This method starts with an identified hazard as the root of a tree and works
backwards to determine its possible causes. A cause can be defined as an AND or OR
combination of events, thereby revealing the combinations of component failures that
may cause the hazard. A Fault Tree Analysis follow the system structure, such that the
upper levels in a fault tree correspond to the system, and the lower levels corresponds to
system components.

Events Gates
Designation Representation Designation Representation


or OR

See example of FTA in Appendixes
Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

2 Event Tree Analysis - ETA

Event Tree Analysis4 can be used to analyse the probabilities of different outcomes
which have been identified during a safety study. Event tree analysis takes at its starting
point the event that can affect the system and tracks them forward through sequences of
interfacing system components to determine their possible consequences.

From the event which initiates any specific accident sequence, normally a significant
release, the functioning and failure of safety subsystems are analysed using forward
logic. This result in a tree structure with the branches developing from left to right. By
assigning a probability to each branch the probabilities of every possible outcome
following the initiating event can be determined.

3 Concept Hazard Analysis - CHA

Concept Hazard Analysis is used for the identification of hazard characteristics in an

attempt to identify areas which are recognized as being particularly dangerous from
previous incidents in the past.

4 Preliminary Process Hazard Analysis - PPHA

A PPHA follows up the results of Concept Hazard Analysis to provide further

information on factors such as wanted and unwanted reactions, the reduction of hazards
and hazardous characteristics on the plant, the identification of incident scenarios and
the evaluation of emissions, effluents, wastes and off-specification products.


 Identifies the potential for major hazards at a very early stage of project development.
 Provides basis for design and siting decisions.
 Helps to ensure plant to plant and plant to environment compatibility.
 Facilitates a later full hazard analysis.


 Is not comprehensive and must be followed by a full HAZOP before construction


See example of ETA in Appendixes
Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

5 What-If Analysis - What-If

What-If analysis uses a creative team brainstorming "what if" questioning approach
to the examination of a process or operation to identify potential hazards and their
consequences. Hazards are identified, existing safeguards noted, and qualitative severity
and likelihood ratings are assigned to aid in risk management decision making.
Questions that begin with "what-if" are formulated by engineering personnel
experienced in the process or operation.


 Team of relevant experts extend knowledge and creativity pool.

 Easy to use.
 Ability to focus on specific element (i.e. human error or environmental issues).


 Quality is dependent on knowledge, thoroughness and experience of team.

 Loose structure can let hazards slip through.
 Does not directly address operability problems.

Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Type 2 Methods

Component HAZARDS

"Trace back by which sorts of component

failures they may be caused "

1 Failure Mode and Effect Analysis - FMEA

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis assumes that the failure modes of the system
component are known. On the basis of these failure modes, the causes of each failure is
then evaluated in the system. FMEA is a forward analysis method, and investigates
effects of a single component failure; it is not possible to investigate the problem caused
by combinations of component failures.

FMEA is a fundamental hazard identification and frequency analysis technique

which analyses all the faults modes of a given equipment item for their effects both on
other components and the system.


 Systematic, component by component analysis aids thoroughness.

 Beneficial at all stages of a facility's life.
 Can easily be updated for plant modifications.


 Not efficient for identifying combinations of equipment failure.

 Does not directly address siting, general safety, or environmental issues.
 Does not directly address operability problems.
 Can be time consuming.

Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

2 Failure Modes, Effects and Critically Analysis - FMECA

FMECA is an extended variant of FMEA, where the criticality of each effect is


3 Hazard and Operability Studies - HAZOP

HAZOP is the most widely used method of analysis used in the process industries. It
is recommended for use by legislators, regulators and engineering institutions. A
HAZOP study is a formal, systematic examination of a processing plant in order to
identify hazards, failures and operability problems, and assess the consequences from
such maloperation.

A HAZOP study generates a list of identified problems, usually with some

suggestions for improvement of the system, and can be used for :

 probabilistic safety assessment

 design changes
 development of operating instructions and procedures for use in training
 quality control and management standards

This method, in order to investigate the effects of deviations from normal operating
conditions during each phase of a system's operation, use a series of guide words:

 Significant release of material

 Failure to recover situation
 Dangerous disturbance of plant
 Inadequate emergency control
 Hazardous deviation
 Failure to control situation (on alarm)
 Process deviation
 Inadequate normal control
 Immediate causes of incident


 Most systematic and comprehensive of methodologies.

 Can be used in conjunction with Human Error analysis.
 Provides greatest safety assurance.


 Can be time consuming and costly.

 Can be tedious if not well facilitated.

Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

4 Quantified Risk Assessment - QRA

Quantified Risk Assessment is widely used as a technique to aid management

decision and defined by the CONCAWE organisation as: "The identification of causes
of possible accidents followed by a technical analysis to determine the likelihood of
occurrence and potential consequences of those accidents leading to a numerical
estimate of an appropriate measure of risk, together with the value judgements made
with regard to a significance of estimated level of risk".

The 5 steps of the method are :

 Hazard Identification
 Frequency Estimation
 Consequence Analysis
 Risk Evaluation
 Sensitivity Analysis

The elements of the procedure are used both to generate information and as an aid to

5 Task Analysis - Task

Task analysis has been developed as a systematic method for analysing a task into its
goals, operations and plans.

Task analysis is a process of sorting out what people might do or actually do when
carrying out operations. The analysis must answer to questions such as :

 What actions do the operators carry out ?

 How do operator respond to different cues in their environment ?
 What errors might be made an deviations caused in plant operations ?
 How might any error be recovered from, or any deviation be controlled ?
 How do operators plan their actions ?

Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods


Risk assessment is the scientific process of asking how risky something is. It is a
process of collecting and analysing scientific data "to describe the form, dimension, and
characteristics of risk"5. A lot of Risk Assessment Methods exist, but their is no good or
bad methods. Risk assessment can take different approaches depending on the purpose
and scope of the available information or data used in an assessment. Depending of
what you want to obtain by a risk assessment, you will need to use a specific method.
Risk assessment is required by law, but is firstly a very good tool to prevent injuries,
accidents on people or properties.
For better outcomes, or in case of doubt in the choice of the method, different ones
should be used. The results of these methods would compare after to look for the more

Word Count : 1528

Dorothy Patton, executive director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Internet References

 Safety-Critical System :

 Quantitative Risk Assessment - ABS Group Inc. Risk & Reliability Division :

 Health and Safety Regulation - A short guide (Health & Safety Executive Web Site) :

 Five steps to Risk Assessment (Health & Safety Executive Web Site) :

 A Guide to Risk Assessment Requirements - Common provisions in health and safety law
(Health & Safety Executive Web Site) :


 Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment, Geoff Wells, 1995

(Institution of Chemical Engineers - ISBN 0 852 9535 4)

 Major Hazards & their Management, Geoff Wells, 1997

(Institution of Chemical Engineers - ISBN 0 852 9536 2)

 BS 8444 - part 3 : 1996

Risk management. Guide to risk analysis of technological systems ( IEC 60300-3-9:1995)

Other Sources

 Risk Management University Course, Shirley Fantie, Senior Lecturer, University of

* Introduction to Qualitative Risk Assessment in HS Management, 5th of October 1999
* Hazard Identification, 12th of October 1999

 FTA University Course, Yves Dutuit, Senior Lecturer, University of Bordeaux,

Department Environmental Health and Safety, France

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods


 Definitions

 Hazard/Risk Assessment Methods and their use

(Extract from Major Hazards and their Management, Geoff Wells)

 Risk Assessment Techniques

(Extract from the Risk Management University Course, Shirley Fantie)

 Fault Tree Analysis - Example

(Extract from the FTA University Course, Yves Dutuit)

 Example of Event Tree of a gas release

(Extract from Major Hazards and their Management, Geoff Wells)

 Role and use of Quantified Risk Assessment

(Extract from the Risk Management University Course, Shirley Fantie)

 Further Information

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods


"A physical situation with a potential for human injury, damage to property, damage
to the environment or a combination of these".

"The likelihood of a specified undesired event with a specified period or in
specialised circumstances".

Risk Assessment
"The act of judging the significance of the risk and prioritise the different risks".

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Hazard/Risk Assessment Methods and their use


Root Causes *

* * *** *** * ***
Control of
*** *** *** *** *** *
Release of
*** *** *** * *
* * *** *
Damage and
* * ***
Deviations from
* * ***
good practice
*** *** *** *** * * ***
*** *** *** * ***
Likelihood of Quantitativ Quantitativ Quantitativ
e e
Quantitative * e
event sequences
Magnitude of Quantitativ
Relative *** * e
Risk assessment Prioritize *** Context

CHA - Concept Hazard Analysis ***  Primary

PPHA - Preliminary Process Hazard Analysis *  Second
HAZOP - Hazard and Operability studies
FMEA - Failure Mode and Effect Analysis
FTA - Fault Tree Analysis
ETA - Event Tree Analysis
Task - Task Analysis
QRA - Quantified Risk Assessment
What-If - What-If Analysis

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Risk Assessment Techniques

Boundaries, aims, information

Check list
Safety inspection
EC Standards
Accident Statistics

Hazards as a Result
of Failures m/c Hazard Indices
components, safety HAZOP
system, FMEA
Mechanical, non- Task Analysis

Injury severity, equipment damage, ETA
fire/explosion,… Modelling

Numerical Data
(probability or frequency):
ESTIMATE OVERALL RISK Reliability Technology
(Frequency) x (Consequences) Human Reliability

REJECT/ACCEPT RISK Cost-benefit Analysis

Compare : Tolerability of Risk
Fatal Accident Rate
Codes of practice, existing situation, Industry average
targets/criteria Target/Criteria

Technical, monitor Modifications
procedural Maintenance

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Fault Tree Analysis - Example

NH : High Level Sensor

NTH : Very High Level

The risk is the overflowing of the tank.

Normally, the water quantity reduce according to the consumption and increase according to the

 If the consumption stop, the level increase until the NH Sensor stop automatically the source
(in closing the Floodgate 1).
 If it's failing, the NTH Sensor stop automatically the source (in closing the Floodgate 2), and
warn the Operator.
 In case of failure of the Floodgate 2, the Operator should close manually the Floodgate 3.

The Floodgates 1 & 2 are the same, so they have the same characteristics and same parameters of
probability. It's the same for the NH & NTH Sensors.

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Over flowing of the tank


No stop of the No flow


and Floodgate 3 non


No stop by the No stop by the or

floodgate 1 foodgate 2

or or Floodgate 3
Floodgate 3 no turned
on by the operator
Floodgate Floodgate 1 Floodgate Floodgate 2 floodgate
1 no turned 2 no turned or
on Automatic on Automatic
floodgate floodgate
Failure of
Failure of Failure of the NTH
the NH the NTH sensor
sensor sensor
Operator Sensor
Sensor Sensor

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Example of Event Tree for a gas release

Large gas release Immediate ignition Delayed ignition by Explosion not flash Outcomes
by process flame any source? fire?

Torch Fire F= 0.008/y

Yes (0.8)

F= 0.001/y

VCE F= 0.00001/y
Yes (0.5)

Yes (0.1)

Flash/Torch fire F= 0.00001/y

No (0.5)
No (0.2)

Dispersion F= 0.00018/y
No (0.9)

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Role and use of a Quantified Risk Assessment

Identify problem

Define scope of analysis

Describe the system Identify scenarios

Estimate frequencies and

consequences of hazards

Evaluate the risk from hazards

Evaluate risk levels against criteria Risk criteria

Sensitivity analysis

Modifiy the system to reduce risk

QRA decision

Final decision Other factors

Implement the decision

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Hazard & Risk Assessment Methods

Further Information

 Management of health and safety at work

(Approved Code of Practice L21 - ISBN 0 7176 0412 8)

 Essentials of health and safety at work - 3rd edition - 1994

(ISBN 0 7176 0716 X)

 Five steps to risk assessment

(IND(G)163(L), free)

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