The What-If Analysis technique is a brainstorming approach in which a group of experienced people familiar with the subject process ask questions or voice concerns about possible undesired events.


The purpose of a What-If Analysis is to identify hazards, hazardous situations, or specific event sequences that could produce undesirable consequences. An experienced group of people identifies possible abnormal situations, their consequences, and existing safeguards, and then suggests alternatives for risk reduction where obvious improvement opportunities are identified or where Safeguards are judged to be inadequate. The method can involve examination of possible deviations from the design, construction, modification, or operating intent. It requires a basic understanding of the process intention, along with the ability to mentally combine possible deviations from the design intent that could result in an incident. This is a powerful technique if the staff is experienced; otherwise, the results are likely to be incomplete.

  • Baseline Data Development
    • Establish Requirements
    • Develop Activity Definition
    • Characterize systems and facilities
  • Process Hazard Screening
    • Use Comprehensive checklists
    • Apply to each Operation/System/Facility
    • Identify Applicable Hazards
  • Perform Hazard Analysis
    • Develop Hazard Analysis Tables
    • Identify important controls
    • Perform Preliminary Ranking of Controls
    • Select Accidents for Further Analysis
  • Perform Design Basis Accident Analysis
    • Performance Probabilistic and Deterministic Analysis of Selected Accidents
    • Quantify Frequency and Accidents
    • Identification of Most Significant Controls
  • Develop Controls and
  • Complete Document


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