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RR616 - Collaboration of results from industry round-robin on engineering critical assessment evaluations

Assessing the significance of flaws or defects, which have been found during inspection, is performed using "Engineering Critical Assessment (ECA)" techniques, also sometimes referred to as "Fitness for Service" or "Fitness for Purpose" techniques. The implications of an incorrect ECA can be highly damaging; both to personnel Health and Safety and to the finances of the operating company.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) contracted Serco Assurance to lead a project comprising a Round-Robin exercise such that a better appreciation can be gained of how practising engineers undertake ECA evaluations. Participants from appropriate industrial companies and supporting organisations were contacted, and supplied three benchmark questions as an exercise. Following initial interpretation of the results, a small team of Serco Assurance staff conducted face-to-face discussions to further investigate the methods used to solve the exercises, and how they might cope with more complex issues.

This report collates the results and discusses the magnitude of variation between the respective Participants’ answers to the benchmark questions, and presents the answers from the face-to-face discussions. The information presented within this report will allow HSE to gain a better appreciation of how practising engineers undertake ECA evaluations and, if appropriate, provide recommendations for improved general guidance on such evaluations.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19