Risk Analysis Methodology

Several large industrial accidents have occurred within the past few years. Many of these received such wide­spread publicity that their names are instantly recognized; Bhopal, Mexico City, Texas City, Piper Alpha, Exxon Valdez. Events such as these have made the public more aware of hazardous materials facilities and increased their concern regarding the safety of such facilities. A clear risk analysis methodology helps companies put the public’s mind at ease.

In response to this concern, a variety of government agencies in many countries around the world are requiring operators of hazardous materials facilities to prove these facilities are “safe.” This normally requires a quantification of the risk associated with operation of the facility. Unless this risk is low enough to be acceptable, an existing facility may be forced to cease operations, or a proposed facility might never be built. In other cases, certain equipment and operating modifications may be necessary in order to reduce the risk until the plant is judged to be “safe enough.” Again, a well-defined risk analysis methodology helps companies meet these requirements.

Since risk can be defined as the product of the probability of occurrence of an accident and the consequences of that accident, any risk analysis methodology involves identifying potential accidents, predicting the frequency at which they will occur, and calculating the consequences that would result if they did occur. The results of such an analysis can then be compared to the risks associated with other industries and activities in order to determine if the risk is acceptable. This step is often called Risk Assessment.

This course explores a quantitative risk analysis methodology for assessing the operation of hazardous materials processing facilities, marketing terminals, transportation systems, etc. The applicability, accuracy, limitations, and acceptability of this methodology and alternative methodologies are discussed. The public’s perception and acceptance of risk and risk reduction/management techniques are also discussed.

Course participants are given access to Quest’s Consequence Analysis software, CANARY by Quest. This allows specific accidents to be examined during the course as case studies.


Course Contents
  • Overview of Quantitative Risk Analysis
  • Hazardous Event Identification
  • Failure Case Definition
  • Estimating Hazardous Event Probabilities
  • Vapor Cloud Hazard Zone Calculations
  • Fire Hazard Calculations
  • BLEVE Hazard Zone Calculations
  • Quantifying Risk
  • Risk Indicators
  • Acceptability of Risk
  • Risk Management
  • Vapor Cloud Explosions – Theory and Practice