An application of failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) to assess risks in petrochemical industry in Iran

Mehdi Kangavari, Sajad Salimi, Rohallah Nourian, leila omidi, Alireza Askarian


Petrochemical industries have a high rate of accidents. Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is a systematic method and thus is capable of analyzing the risks of systems from concept phase to system disposal, detecting the failures in design stage, and determining the control measures and corrective actions for failures to reduce their impacts. The objectives of this research were to perform FMEA to identify risks in an Iranian petrochemical industry and determine the decrease of the risk priority number (RPN) after implementation of intervention programs. This interventional study was performed at one petrochemical plant in Tehran, Iran in 2014. Relevant information about job categories and plant process was gathered using brainstorming techniques, fishbone diagram, and group decision making. The data were collected through interviews, observation, and documents investigations and was recorded in FMEA worksheets. The necessary corrective measures were performed on the basis of the results of initial FMEA. Forty eight failures were identified in welding unit by application of FMEA to assess risks. Welding processes especially working at height got the highest RPN. Obtained RPN for working at height before performing the corrective actions was 120 and the score was reduced to 96 after performing corrective measures. Calculated RPN for all processes was significantly reduced (p≤0.001) by implementing the corrective actions. Scores of RPN in all studied processes effectively decreased after performing corrective actions in a petrochemical industry. FMEA method is a useful tool for identifying risk intervention priorities and effectiveness in a studied petrochemical industry.


FMEA, RPN, Corrective measures, Process, Petrochemical industry

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Iranian Journal of Health, Safety and Environment e-ISSN: :2345-5535 Iran university of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran