Risk Analysis

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Effective risk analysis skills are important to nearly everyone, but they are especially important to businesses. In order to make effective business decisions, large businesses that involve complicated manufacturing or mechanical systems may undertake comprehensive risk analyses, often involving some sort of FMEA or fault tree analysis. At the heart of such risk analysis processes is the desire to eliminate potentially disastrous consequences that could affect production, quality, or the safety in the workplace.

Modern Physical Asset Risk Analysis Techniques

In 1949 the United States Military promulgated a technique to assess the reliability of field equipment. In this report, various equipment failures were classified, organized, and assessed by their impacts on personnel and other equipment. The document was called Procedures for Performing a Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis, and was the starting point for further studies into the FMEA style of failure analysis.

FMEA is now involved in many different types of risk analysis, including RCM2. RCM2 embeds an FMEA in the context of the functionality of the asset being analyzed. For example, by assessing the desired functions of an asset, RCM2 enables procedures and tasks to be developed to both improve the life of the asset and to minimize risk to other aspects of business effectiveness, including other assets.

The RCM approach to risk analysis considers the effects of a failure on all aspects of a business instead of simply the effects to output and cost. In many cases, failure modes present a risk to service standards as well as product quality, the environment, and occupational safety. By understanding the network of causes, effects, and failed states, maintenance practices that ensure continued asset functionality can be developed.

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