November 2020

Special Focus: Process Controls, Instrumentation and Automation

Increase uptime by reducing systematic failure risk

Pondering the history of industrial incidents, it would be incorrect to assume that most failures occur randomly.

Siew, H., Endress+Hauser

Pondering the history of industrial incidents, it would be incorrect to assume that most failures occur randomly. Muddying the already-murky waters of random vs. systematic failure, safety instrumented system (SIS) design primarily considers probability of failure on demand (PFD) calculations, and PFD is tied to random failure rate and risk. Systematic failure in both safety and other automation systems occurs more frequently than random failure, as justified by findings by the UK Health, Safety and Environment Committee. Of failures recorded in the study, 65% were systematic in nature (FIG. 1), caused by improper specification, design and implementation errors, as well as mistakes made dur

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