What –If Analysis is a structured brainstorming method of determining what things can go wrong and judging the likelihood and consequences of those situations occurring. The answers to these questions form the basis for making judgments regarding the acceptability of those risks and determining a recommended course of action for those risks judged to be unacceptable. An experienced review team can effectively and productively discern major issues concerning a process or system. Lead by an energetic and focused facilitator, each member of the review team participates in assessing what can go wrong based on their past experiences and knowledge of similar situations.
Using an operating procedure and/or Piping and Instrument Diagram (P&ID), the team reviews the operation or process step utilizing a form similar to one illustrated in Figure C-1. Team members usually include operating and maintenance personnel, design and/or operating engineers, specific skills as needed (chemist, structural engineer, radiation expert, etc.) and a safety representative. At each step in the procedure or process, What-If questions are asked and answers generated. To minimize the chances that potential problems are not overlooked, moving to recommendations is held until all of the potential hazards are identified.
The review team then makes judgments regarding the likelihood and severity of the “What-If” answers. If the risk indicated by those judgments is unacceptable then a recommendation is made by the team for further action. The completed analysis is then summarized and prioritized, and responsibilities are assigned.
“What-If” Hazard Analysis
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Figure C-1. What-If Analysis Form
Three boxes and three mitigations