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Safety With Purpose #5 - Fault Tree Analysis with Bryan McWhorter

By Safeopedia Staff
Published: July 6, 2019 | Last updated: March 16, 2020 11:31:25
Key Takeaways

Join Scott MacKenzie and Bryan McWhorter as they discuss Fault Tree Analysis on the Safety with Purpose podcast. Follow Safeopedia for more great safety content daily!

Join Scott MacKenzie and Bryan McWhorter as they discuss Fault Tree Analysis on the Safety with Purpose podcast. Follow Safeopedia for more great safety content daily!

Podcast Transcript:

[00:00] Yeah.


[00:08] All right. Welcome to safety with purpose. My name is Scott MacKenzie. You are of course the safety sherpas. You are guiding us up that mountain of success in a safe way. And you’re Karen, you’re, you’re, you’re doing the heavy lifting. Thank you very much for everything that you do. You safety professionals as well as keeping to everybody, to all our listeners out there safe, come in home for family, friends, whatever they want to do. So thank you very much. We’re going to be talking about fault tree analysis during this particular podcast. This course brought to you by that mad safety man Bryan McWhorter. I know that you’re busy. Let’s get going. Yeah, yeah. We have no time to waste cause you guys are out there keeping people safe. Like what am I supposed to do about that? All I can do is just keep going. Tailgate, talk number one.

[00:55] All right. I go out to Safeopedia once again, you’ve heard me talk about that. Uh, well, uh, a number of times and I go to the Q and a section because I always enjoy some of the questions out there. And once again, there’s no stupid question out there in the world of safety. There is no stupid question. Even if your kid comes to you and say, hey, blah, blah, blah, blah, even your child, no stupid questions, keep them safe and make sure that you answer them. And, and I always go to the Q and a section and, and uh, this is what a, I popped up because once again, keeping in the theme of heat and hot and all that fun stuff, what is some of the good ways to replenish electrolytes at work? I gotta tell you, man, I’ve been in some locations where it is just blistering hot.

[01:36] And if you’re not drinking, and if you’re not thinking about it, you’re always just sort of focused on the work and you’re gonna find yourself in a really nasty safety pickle. And, um, so anyway, I was, I was fascinated by this. And then of course there are three components associated with, uh, properly replenishing your electrolytes. And the number one of course is nutrition. Make sure that you’re eating, uh, the, the foods that’s rich and of course sodium, calcium, magnesium, all of the potassium, fruits and vegetables. It’s a, it’s a common sense. You gotta eat right? You’re gonna have to eat and eat, eat stuff. That’s a good, right. That makes sense. It’s, it’s common sense in that. Then of course, there are plenty of companies who provide, uh, electrolyte benefit, uh, beverages. I like Sqwincher and a, they’re out there and they provide a great product out there to drink and continue to replenish.

[02:22] But you just can’t just drink Sqwincher as you’ve got to also augment it with water. You gotta drink plenty of water. That’s so important, man, to keep everything sort of moving around and, and properly hydrated. And it’s a balance of all of those three too. And, and in, in this world, hot, hot, hot, you got to do it and you gotta do it with, uh, uh, definitely competence number two. Here’s one that’s I truly enjoyed. Uh, this is the free Webinar. It’s on demand. All of these webinars that I’ve been talking about are on demand. You don’t have to wait for it. You don’t have to sit there, you got to register and you got to get that information out there. But, but their on demand

[03:00] and so they’re the ones that are scheduled that you can participate in. And these are, these are webinars, free webinars. Once again, I’d said free aside did, you don’t have to pay anything. And a, it’s all out there because this platform and, and what a safe PD provides is the ability to be able to get that information out there because it’s all about knowledge. It’s all about safety, knowledge, keeping you safe. So this one is interesting. Qualifying and managing contractors. Ask me anything. This is Patrick Robinson a, he’s the one that is hosting this particular Webinar. And I mean for me personally, uh, owning a on in industrial maintenance company. I, I’m, I’m a contractor and um, and all my interactions are with, with other companies that are talking specifically about, oh, well, you know, what are your qualifications? It’s and so on and so forth that if you’re a company that is a great, a Webinar does sort of get connected.

[03:52] And, and even if you’re a contractor to understand, you know what questions to ask you. Just it’s just all in all front to end beginning and it doesn’t matter. It’s a good webinar that is with Patrick Robinson and it’s out there of course on safest pdf. Select a webinars and boom, you’re good to go. All right, let’s get going. We’re going to be talking about fault tree analysis on this particular episode of us safety with purpose and this is Bryan McWhorter and a instead of me, I once again, I’m always fascinated by these wonderful interviews. So again, here’s Bryan McWhorter. Thank you very much for joining a safety with purpose. Enjoy this interview. All right, welcome to safety with purpose. We’ve got Bryan McWhorter and we’re going to be talking right now about fault tree analysis, a preventative approach to workplace safety. Bryan, enlighten us on this particular topic.

[04:43] Thanks guy. Yeah, both tree analysis as a very useful tool. I’m often called the FTA. It has a risk analysis tool that was developed by bell labs in 1962 for the aerospace industry. And it’s become very popular and used by engineers and professionals in almost every field and industry. Yeah. As a way, again of identifying potential risks and putting control measures in place usually, uh, at the design phase. So in other words, if you bought a car or riding and a plaintiff’s kind of Nice know that the engineers did fall tree analysis as a way of flushing out potential things that could go wrong.

[05:20] So you’re saying that this has gotta be sort of, is, is the fault tree analysis a pre thing before you proceed forward? Is that, is that, and you sort of identify the faults prior to execution or

[05:32] yes. Uh, yeah, as where I’ve had, well, there’s, I’ll walk you through kind of the basic structure when a creates a map. So what you would typically do at the beginning of your map or at the top of the page, you’d write the, an undesirable event, something that you do not want to have happen, like a your computer crashing or say the brakes failing on your car. So we’ll use a car as an idea. So yeah, the unfavorable event is, you know, brakes failing in your car. So underneath that we would start listing all the things that could cause your brakes to fail. You’d have things listed like a faulty master cylinder, low brake fluid, more brake pads. Now for each of those, you start listening to things that could cause those to happen. Say for low brake fluid, you might have listed a broken pipe or hose leaking cylinder, loose bleeds, screws.


[06:21] So you’re going to map, continue working down the page with all of those. And for ratios you’ll have gates. It kind of tell, um, how significant an event would be. In other words, is this something that on its own could cause the failure or is it a contributing factor when added to other things? Could cause a failure. But by the time you do all this and you work your way down the map, if you start reading at the bottom, you’ll literally have a how to guide for creating someone’s breaks to fail, which is not how it’s meant to be used, but you get the idea. So now like you said, in the design phase, we’ve done this. Now let’s say we design a widget and it’s now been in the market for six months. Now we can look at data from different failures of components with that widget and we can add it to that fall tree analysis so we can make it more robust. The idea is to be able to predict potential failures and put control measures in place. So if there is a bad event, say a a plane crash or or, so something that happens often, a paltry analysis is something that they will do two or go back to the fall tree analysis and add to it. Yes. Part of that risk assessment.

[07:30] You know what’s interesting, um, there was a, uh, a gentleman out there, I can’t remember his name and I’m sorry that I can’t, he did a fall tree analysis on the titanic. No, it’s after the fact. But it’s the same thing too where you, here’s the event and then you just start boom, boom, boom. And the level of granularity into that particular analysis was phenomenal. Phenomenal.

[07:56] Yeah. These are actually their brainstorming tools. But what the map does is it gives you a place to put your thoughts. So it gives you kind of a linear approach. Often a fault tree analysis is used with another engineering tool called an FMI, a failure mode, effects analysis. And these working together do a great job again. Yeah. Ideas. If something can fail, we want that control measure in place to prevent it. Yeah. We want, um, fail safes in place. So we’re looking for predictability. So again, we can create something as robust as possible. You get when you’re flying across the sky in a seven 30, seven or 30,000 feet, know 500 miles an hour in a pressurized metal tube. It’s kind of Nice to know the fall tree analysis and failure mode analysis and all these things were done to look for potential problems in the design phase. Yeah. And help create that robust, yeah, it was safe

[08:51] and in line with that particular conversation or that example of a airline, there’s redundancies too. So if something does fail, they’ve got, you know, another system right there ready to go, boom. And that, that’s a good thing.

[09:05] Absolutely smart back. That’s part of, but yeah, a little bit too. You’re a common, you want a plan a plan B, plan c. The last thing I want is a pilot looking over to copa and going, no, I’ve never seen this before. What do you think we should do?

[09:18] Yeah.

[09:19] Want it. Damn.

[09:20] Yeah. You don’t want that conversation now from an organizational perspective, Bryan, what, what?

[09:27] Okay.

[09:27] Yeah. Do you identify um, sorta or prioritize events within your organization and say, okay, this is not based off of some criteria. This is not real important right now. We should do some sort of a, a fault tree analysis. But this one is real important and we have a gap and we have not done something like that. We don’t have something in play to are you we talking specifically for an organization to sort of go through that analysis?

[09:56] Yeah, you’re kind of crossing tools but absolutely everything in safety gives where the hazard analysis, so you know, identifying hazards and then rating the probability of it happening, severity level, things like that. And so yeah, in that phase a applying, okay. If you find this as a potential issue, so you’ve got gases on compress gas in your, the facility that is poisonous like [inaudible] or something along that line where you know, and if this system fails is going to be a major issue for not only can that poisonous gas flood or facility put all our workers in jeopardy, but we have a town nearby that, you know, if the wind is yes, riotous get carried in there. So yeah, a fall tree analysis, failure mode analysis for just yelling with that great idea. And these are living documents or is once you’ve done them, you file them away and you refer back to them as you get more information than you added to it and you’re continually, it’s part of that continuous improvement.

[10:55] And let me ask you this. We live in the real world and although you said that these documents are living, breathing, you know, always evolving documents, what’s the real world say?

[11:07] Okay. Oh, that’s where I get my, my comment on it being a brain, a storming tool because your ears never can capture everything. Right? But you know, as you’re doing this, if you’ve ever heard the tape, the uh, term antifragile um, with every failure you discover w with, I’ll use a aviation as an example. Every plane that does crash, which happens very rarely, thank God as an industry, it becomes a, we the, they do session analysis of that event to make sure it does not happen again as living documents do where all of aviation benefits. Again, it’s horrible that say a plane crashes, but now the industry is going to be safer because they’re going to from that event. Yeah. And that’s the whole idea is as you gain information there’s, and there’s your world real world application you can ever,

[12:02] Yup, take care of all the variables, but you’re going to take care of hopefully the most. Yeah, the majority of of ones that are the true issues that can cause those catastrophic demands.

[12:13] This is a living, breathing document. Do not allow your fault tree analysis to be a static document. It is constantly evolving to reflect changes in your business and making people feel safe, which is real important with safety, with purpose. Hey Bryan. Thank you again. We’re going to be talking next episode. We’re going to talk a little bit about hazards versus dangers, which I have no clue. I just know how to sort of spell both of those names, so anyway, thank you very much for joining the safety with purpose. We’re going to come off back and we’re going to talk a little bit about hazards and dangers.

[12:49] Thank you very much. As an industrial professional myself, I was always passionate about sales, marketing, branding, expanding the marketplace for my company. That’s what Ian Dust, real talk platform is all about. It’s about you, the industrial company, the industrial professional and your legacy, increasing sales, gaining greater exposure on what you do and how you and your company changes the world. Go out to industrial that’s industrial contact me. Let’s have a conversation to see how we can work with you on improving your bottom line and that you can be a part of an ever growing network of industrial companies focused on expanding and growing and leaving a legacy. I hope to hear from you soon and be safe out there.

[13:57] All right, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for joining safety with purpose. Use Safety Sherpas out there. Once again, I, I truly believe you are doing the heavy lifting, bringing us home safely each and every day because you’re constantly pursuing knowledge, constantly looking at better ways of being able to keep us safe that it never stops. It is a profession that you guys have chosen that never stops to keep us the ones that are working and all that stuff and we forget about safety. That’s what you’re all about. Thank you very much. It’s a very noble cause. And let’s, uh, sort of recap it a little bit about what we talked about. Bryan McWhorter, Matt, uh, safety guy talked about fault tree analysis. We’re going to have all the documentations associated with his podcast out on And then of course replenishment or replenishment of electrolytes.

[14:41] C’Mon. Let’s, uh, let’s, uh, eat right, let’s drink a proper drink and then of course, constantly drink all water out there. And of course, if you’re a contractor and if you’re a company and they’re looking to qualify, you need to go to that Webinar. It is on demand. So Hey, if you have any safety related, uh, uh, topics that you want to try to talk about, go to I guarantee you they’ve got something out there for you to keep your people safe, as well as if you’re interested in marketing, growing your market, expanding your market, Ya know, it’s uh, go to industrial guarantee you there’s answers out there as well. Thank you very much. Stay safe and we will be right back with another topic.

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Written by Safeopedia Staff

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At Safeopedia, we think safety professionals are unsung superheroes in many workplaces. We aim to support and celebrate these professionals and the work they do by providing easy access to occupational health and safety information, and by reinforcing safe work practices.

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