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Keywords:

  • quantitative risk assessment;
  • rail;
  • transportation of ammonia;
  • human error;
  • failure frequency

Abstract

Risk is defined as the probability of a specific adverse event occurring within a specific period, while Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) is the development of a quantitative estimate of risk based on engineering evaluation and mathematical techniques by combining estimate of incident consequences and frequencies. In view of the increase in the use of railways as the mode of transportation for hazardous materials throughout the world, the associated risk analysis should be taken into concern. In this study, the failure frequency of the transportation of ammonia from the Petronas fertilizers Kedah (PFK) plant in Gurun (Northern part of Peninsular Malaysia), to the Chemical Company Malaysia (CCM) fertilizer's facilities in Port Klang (South-western part of Peninsular Malaysia) was evaluated by incorporating the human error assessment. The study highlighted the importance of human error contributions in the failure frequency analysis and its impact on the selected failure scenarios. Besides, it also shows that the application of the human error assessment and reduction technique (HEART), which is a useful human reliability analysis tool, should be used in parallel with the fuzzy arithmetic approach to reduce the uncertainties involved in the estimation of human error probabilities, and hence, to reduce the likelihood of incorrect risks estimates being assessed. The results suggested that the commonly applied approach in quantitative risk assessments, which only consider equipment failures in the failure frequency estimations, are clearly an underestimate of the potential causes of failures leading to hazardous material releases, and hence, the calculated risks based do not reflect the actual risks. © 2008 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2009