The use of field experience to assess the probabilities of major accidents

Abstract : In France, a law published the 30th of July, 2003 introduced prevention and repair of damage caused by industrial and natural disasters. This law has initiated the use of frequencies and probabilities in the risk assessments performed in safety reports. The French legislation requires to assess the probabilities of major accidents when doing a risk analysis. Several approaches are available to estimate the probabilities of accidents. One of the most famous is the bow-tie method. Another approach is also authorized: the use of field experience. For example, a duty holder who has experienced one fire in his installation during the last ten years can use this information to assess the probability of a fire within the following year. This approach is indicated in the French legislation, however no methodology is given or advised on how to use that experience collected by operators. In most cases, one will merely calculate the ratio between the number of accidents and the database timeframe. Unfortunately, doing so barely gives a gross approximation of the expected value, without taking into account the size of the dataset, nor any potential uncertainty implied by it. This paper develops the methodology proposed in France through a series of formulas making it possible to assess the probabilities of major accidents by using field experience and taking the above considerations into account. These formulas mostly depend on the work context - assessing an ignition probability and assessing a leak frequency require different mathematical hypothesis and models - and on the quality of the field experience data considered - with a conservative approach: using a very reliable database should lead to a lower probability than using an incomplete one.
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  • HAL Id : ineris-00973672, version 1
  • INERIS : EN-2012-254

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Yann Flauw, Clément Lenoble. The use of field experience to assess the probabilities of major accidents. 11. International Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management Conference (PSAM11) and The Annual European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2012), Jun 2012, Helsinki, Finland. pp.892-897. ⟨ineris-00973672⟩

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