Evaluation of Uncertainty in Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Calculations

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 29, 2015
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.50

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The evaluation of the safety integrity level of a new or existing safety instrumented system (SIS) requires detailed calculations based on the failure rates of the device and the planned maintenance - testing cycle for the system.  The failure rates of the devices are taken from standard failure rate tabulations of equipment.  The maintenance and testing plans are developed based on plant experience. The quantitative evaluation determines the probability of failure on demand (PFD) for a demand mode SIS and yields thesafety integrity level (SIL) of the SIS. All of the data used in the SIL calculations are uncertain.  This paper explores the impact of uncertainty on the PFD calculation for a SIS.  The “70%” rule of thumb from IEC 61508 is compared to results obtained using probability theory such as variance contribution analysis (VCA).  A proposed methodology for handling the uncertainty in the PFD calculations is presented based on the application of the VCA method.  An example is worked to demonstrate the methodology. 

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