System Safety Engineering and Risk Assessment: A Practical Approach, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

System Safety Engineering and Risk Assessment

A Practical Approach, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Nicholas J. Bahr

CRC Press

443 pages | 73 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138893368
pub: 2017-08-02
Hardback: 9781466551602
pub: 2014-12-09
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351229043
pub: 2018-10-08
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We all know that safety should be an integral part of the systems that we build and operate. The public demands that they are protected from accidents, yet industry and government do not always know how to reach this common goal. This book gives engineers and managers working in companies and governments around the world a pragmatic and reasonable approach to system safety and risk assessment techniques. It explains in easy-to-understand language how to design workable safety management systems and implement tested solutions immediately.

The book is intended for working engineers who know that they need to build safe systems, but aren’t sure where to start. To make it easy to get started quickly, it includes numerous real-life engineering examples. The book’s many practical tips and best practices explain not only how to prevent accidents, but also how to build safety into systems at a sensible price. The book also includes numerous case studies from real disasters that describe what went wrong and the lessons learned.

See What’s New in the Second Edition:

  • New chapter on developing government safety oversight programs and regulations, including designing and setting up a new safety regulatory body, developing safety regulatory oversight functions and governance, developing safety regulations, and how to avoid common mistakes in government oversight
  • Significantly expanded chapter on safety management systems, with many practical applications from around the world and information about designing and building robust safety management systems, auditing them, gaining internal support, and creating a safety culture
  • New and expanded case studies and "Notes from Nick’s Files" (examples of practical applications from the author’s extensive experience)
  • Increased international focus on world-leading practices from multiple industries with practical examples, common mistakes to avoid, and new thinking about how to build sustainable safety management systems
  • New material on safety culture, developing leading safety performance indicators, safety maturity model, auditing safety management systems, and setting up a safety knowledge management system


"I found Nick’s chapters on Safety Management Systems and Government Regulations and Safety Oversight, to be very comprehensive, insightful and informative. As a practicing occupational health and safety regulator and a previous transport safety regulator, I will certainly keep Nick’s second edition on my book shelf as a ready reference, just as I do with his first edition."

—Len Neist, Health & Safety Regulator, Australia

Table of Contents


Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition




Why Do We Need Safety Engineering?

What Is Safety Analysis?

System Safety and Risk Assessment

Government Safety Regulations versus Safety from Industry’s Point of View

Brief History of Safety


Further Reading

Definitions and Concepts

Makeup of an Accident

How Safe Is Safe Enough?

Case Study: Black Swan Extreme Events, Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

The Accident

What Went Wrong?

Media Nightmare

Lessons Learned of What Could Have Been Done Differently

What Is a Hazard and Other Important Concepts

System Safety versus Safety Management System

System Safety Process

Hazard Identification

Hazard Control

Risk Acceptance

Risk Management versus Safety Management

Hazard Reduction Precedence

Design Out the Hazard

Safety Devices

Warning Devices

Special Procedures and Training

Safety Maturity Model and Safety Management Systems

Leading and Lagging Safety Performance Indicators

Use of Standards in Safety

Government Standards

Industry Standards

Regional Standards, Example: Interoperability in the European Union

International Standards


Further Reading

Safety Analysis in Engineering: How Is It Used?


Consumer Products

Chemical Process and Oil and Gas Industry


Mass Transit

Military and Space

Commercial Nuclear Power


Further Reading

Safety Management Systems

Safety in the System Life Cycle

System Life Cycle

Safety and the System Life Cycle

Case Studies of Poor Application of Safety in the System Life Cycle

Developing a Robust Safety Management System

Elements of a Safety Management System

Conducting a Diagnostic of Your Safety Management System

Organizational Management and Safety

Management Commitment

Suggested Ideas to Enhance Management Involvement

Safety Management System Organization

System Safety Program: Keystone to a Robust Safety Management System

Elements of a System Safety Program

Setting Up a System Safety Program

Evaluating Contractors and Subcontractors

Emergency Preparedness Programs

Case Study: How a Leading Global Personal Care Products Company Created a Best Practice Safety Program

Common Mistakes in Implementing Safety Programs

Closed-Loop Process

Hazard Tracking and Resolution

System Safety Reviews and Audits

Case Study: Special Commission of Inquiry, Waterfall Rail Accident Safety Management System Audit

Some Words on Safety Governance

Voluntary Protection Program

Safety Culture

What Is Safety Culture?

Measuring Safety Culture

Designing Sustainable Safety Culture: Fitting a Global Company’s Corporate Safety Program into the Local Culture


Further Reading

Hazard Analysis

Hazard Analysis Methodology

Preliminary Hazard List

Passenger-Carrying Submersible Example

Hazard Analysis: Preliminary, Subsystem, and System

Facility Hazard Analysis

Operations and Support Hazard Analysis

Examples of Hazard Analyses

Example Hazard Analysis of NASA Laser

Brief Example of a Hazardous Waste Storage Facility Hazard Analysis


Further Reading

Process Safety Analysis

Process Hazard Analysis


What-If Analysis and Safety Checklists

Brief HAZOP Example of an Ammonia Fill Station

Example What-If/Safety Checklist for Pressure Test Equipment


Further Reading

Fault Tree Analysis

Fault Tree Symbols and Logic

Finding Cut Sets

Fault Tree Quantification

Example of a Fault Tree Construction of a Motor–Pump Pressure System

Common Mistakes in Fault Trees


Further Reading

FMECA, Human Factors, and Software Safety

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

Conducting a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality Analysis

Human Factors Safety Analysis

Performance and Human Error

Conducting Human Factors Safety Analysis

Brief Example of Human Factors Safety Analysis: Manual Switchover to Auxiliary Feedwater System

Software Safety

Software Safety Analysis

Software Testing and IV&V


Further Reading

Other Techniques


Energy Trace Barrier Analysis

Sneak Circuit Analysis

Cause–Consequence Analysis

Root Cause Analysis

Bow Tie Analysis

Dispersion Modeling

Test Safety

Comparing the Various Techniques

Advantages and Disadvantages


Further Reading

Data Sources and Training

Government Data Banks

Industry Data Banks

Creating Your Own Safety Knowledge Management System: Some Suggestions

Safety Training

Employee Safety Training

Emergency Preparedness and Response Training

Personnel Certification for Hazardous Operations

Sample Safety Training Course Outline for a Microprocessor Production Plant

Safety Awareness Training


Further Reading

Accident Reporting, Investigation, Documentation, and Communication

Anatomy of an Accident

Accident Investigation Board

Reporting the Accident

Setting Up a Closed-Loop Reporting System

Example of an Automated System

Forming an Investigation Board

Selecting the Investigation Board

Conducting the Investigation

Investigation Report

Documenting the Accident

Retention of Records

Public Release of Information

Accident Investigation Lessons Learned

Communicating the Accident to the Public

Developing a Crisis Communication Plan

Common Mistakes: What Not to Say and Do


Further Reading

Government Regulations and Safety Oversight

Safety Regulatory Oversight

Key Components of a Safety Regulatory Regime

Description of Different Regulatory Oversight Models

Case Study: Setting Up a Safety Oversight Body from Scratch

Safety Oversight Functions and Governance

More Effective Safety Service Delivery

Safety Oversight Organization Options

Sample Safety Oversight Organization

Example Process Safety Oversight in the United States

Aligning Resource Needs to the Oversight Organization: How to Do More with Less

Case Study: U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Improving Oversight through System Safety

Common Mistakes in Government Oversight Programs


Further Reading

Risk Assessment

What Is Risk?

Risk Perception

Risk Assessment Methodology

Identifying Risk in a System

Risk Communication


Further Reading

Risk Evaluation

Probabilistic Approach

Risk Analysis Model

Developing Accident Scenarios and Initiating Events

Event Trees

Consequences Determination


Risk Evaluation: The Use of Risk Profiles

Calculating Safety Costs

Brief Example: Risk Assessment of Launching a Space Shuttle Payload


Further Reading

Appendix A: Typical Energy Sources

Appendix B: Generic Hazard Checklist

Appendix C: Generic Facility Safety Checklist

Appendix D: Internet Sources


About the Author

Nicholas J. Bahr is an internationally recognized expert in system safety, risk assessment, and enterprise risk management systems and has over 25 years of professional experience working around the world. He has set up safety management systems for companies and helped governments improve their safety oversight programs. Over his career, Mr. Bahr has conducted programs for commercial and government clients, detailed technical risk assessments, implemented enterprise risk management business processes, and developed regulatory oversight programs throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, South America, Australia, the Middle East, and North Africa. His diverse experience and background covers many industries including aerospace, utilities, oil and gas, manufacturing, and transportation.

After a high-profile rail accident in Australia, Mr. Bahr was asked to lead an international team conducting a safety management systems audit of both the regulator and the railway. The audit methodology is now considered the new international gold standard for safety management systems. His client engagements range from risk strategy for senior government and commercial executives, to detailed risk assessments for front-line management. He has helped CEOs, senior VPs, and senior government officials realize tangible and sustainable benefits from their safety and risk management programs. Mr. Bahr is a past U.S. delegate to various standards writing bodies. Currently, Mr. Bahr is a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton and is the regional manager for the Middle East and North Africa.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Engineering (General)
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Health & Safety