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Training - Fault Tree


Fault Tree Analysis

A Fault Tree is method for representing the logical combinations of various system states which lead to a particular outcome (Top event).

The fault tree analysis (FTA) technique can be either qualitative or quantitative, and the faults identified in the tree can be events that are associated with the component hardware failures, human errors or any other pertinent events which lead to the undesired event.

Starting with the top event, the possible causes or fault modes of all the next lower functional system level are systematically identified. The disciplined FTA approach is, however, sufficiently flexible to allow analysis of a variety of factors, including human interactions and physical phenomena. The application of the "top-down" approach, implicit in the technique, focuses attention on those effects of failure which are directly related to the top event.

The pictorial representation leads to an easy understanding of the system behaviour and the factors included, but as the trees are often large, processing of fault trees may require computer systems, and as a result also makes the verification of the fault tree difficult.

FTA may be used for hazard identification, although it is primarily used in risk assessment as a tool to provide an estimate of failure probabilities or frequencies.

A simple example is included here.



Keywords / Terms

Quantitative risk assessment (QRA)

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