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You are here: Home » Case Studies » Deciding whether components are sufficiently safe to use in critical systems

Deciding whether components are sufficiently safe to use in critical systems


  • In industries like nuclear and transport any new component that is added to an existing system must satisfy rigorous safety requirements
  • In the rail industry the choice of alternative components (from different suppliers) is influenced by a combination of safety, reliability and cost
  • Hence the suitability of any potential new component must be assessed on its likely impact on overall safety
  • A major rail company needed to be able to make an auditable judgement about the overall safety of each potential new component or system. The judgement had to take account of a combination of information such as known reliability data, independent testing data, and expert judgement about the design quality, complexity and manufacturer capability


  • A hierarchical risk map was developed in AgenaRisk that took account of the full range of objective and subjective data
  • Safety predictions were characterized in terms of expected whole-life losses


  • AgenaRisk provides a rigorous, auditable prediction of the component's safety in terms of whole-life losses and hence provides a clear basis for making the decision about whether or not to adopt the component
  • AgenaRisk enables extensive "what-if?" and other types of sensitivity analysis to enable users to identify the impact of various changes to the component and changes to any assumptions
  • AgenaRisk identifies the causes of poor safety
  • Enables users to update their predictions when new information (such as testing data) becomes available