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Balancing safety and performance through QRA and RAM analysis

The risks associated with release of flammable or toxic materials needs to be analysed and understood to effectively manage them

Improving safety through risk management and improving economic viability through asset management are crucial elements of sustainable business success.

However, what if the needs of these initiatives conflict?

The impact of risk management on asset performance and the impact of asset management on risk can be assessed and thus an iterative analysis begins.

Loss prevention

Comprehensive management of an asset is supported by many different methodologies.  “Loss prevention” contains an array of concepts incorporating many technical and managerial techniques. The loss prevention pyramid, as shown in the figure, provides a description of the array of tools and methods within risk management and asset management and how they can be combined to create an available and safe system.

The pyramid can be categorised under two main headings: Risk Management and Asset Management. Risk management aims at preventing accidental impact on life, property and the environment, whereas asset management intends to maintain and then continuously improve the performance of an asset by managing threats to production. In using these approaches, operators ensure that assets are running optimally with a known and managed level of risk.

As the pyramid describes, both domains are supported by qualitative and quantitative analyses, simulation techniques, management processes and standards. Two well established and advanced methodologies that are widely used by the process industry to assess risk and performance are Quantitative Risk Analysis - QRA and Reliability, Availability and Maintainability - RAM analysis.

Loss prevention pyramid_1134x450

Loss prevention pyramid


QRA and RAM analysis are multi-faceted techniques which themselves require an underlying appreciable platform of good information. QRA requires thorough hazard identification and failure frequencies and RAM requires sound reliability data and well thought out flow networks and reliability block diagrams.
We find that sometimes the methods to assure safety and asset management methodologies may at times conflict; changes recommended from risk management work can directly impact the performance of a system – and vice-versa.

Being able to quickly run sensitivities in both a QRA and RAM study is essential to achieve the highest production with minimum cost and safe operations. That's where software products become of fundamental importance.

Holistic view

We have developed a case study that highlights the benefits of having a unified asset data system that can be called upon by QRA and RAM analyses. By taking instances of the base case and making changes we can efficiently analyse a range of options. Each option will have production efficiency, risk and cost impact. Using quantified measures of production efficiency and risk we can make informed decisions about plant design and operation and take a holistic view of Loss Prevention.

This holistic approach to the safety and asset management sides of Loss Prevention is extremely vital – additionally, robust software tools empower analysts to spend time working on the most important factor in these analyses: the information input to and output from the analyses.


CCPS. (1989). Chemical Process Quantitative Risk Analysis. New York: AiChE Centre for Chemical Process Safety.

Det Norske Veritas AS. (2002). Offshore Reliability Handbook. Oslo: OREDA Participants.

RIVM. (2009). Reference Manual Bevi Risk Assessments. Bilthoven: National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).


2014/05/11 15:44:19


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