Safety First: Risk-Based Inspection of Mechanical Equipment

Risk-based inspection (RBI) is a methodology that unlike condition-based inspection, involves quantitative assessment of the probability of failure (PoF) and the consequence of failure (CoF) associated with each item of equipment and associated piping in a particular process unit. A properly-implemented RBI program categorizes individual pieces of equipment by their inherent risks and prioritizes inspection efforts based on this categorization.

RBI is used to identify and understand risk drivers to prioritize inspections, usually by means of nondestructive examination (NDE) to reduce the uncertainties around assessing any damage to the equipment and the dynamics causing it. The resulting inspection plan outlines the type and scheduling of inspection for a particular asset. In addition to NDE, additional risk mitigation activities identified by a RBI assessment might include a change in material of construction, installation of corrosion resistant liners, operating condition changes, injection of corrosion inhibition chemicals, and upgrading insulation solutions.