Quantitative risk assessment software

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Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) software and methodologies give quantitative estimates of risks, given the parameters defining them. They are used in the financial sector, the chemical process industry, and other areas.

In financial terms, quantitative risk assessments include a calculation of the single loss expectancy of monetary value of an asset.

In the chemical process and petrochemical industries a QRA is primarily concerned with determining the potential loss of life (PLL) caused by undesired events. Specialist software can be used to model the effects of such an event, and to help calculate the potential loss of life. Some organisations use the risk outputs to assess the implied cost to avert a fatality (ICAF) which can be used to set quantified criteria for what is an unacceptable risk and what is tolerable.

For the explosives industry, QRA can be used for many explosive risk applications. It is especially useful for site risk analysis when reliance on quantity distance (QD) tables is not feasible.


  • IMESAFR – Institute of Makers of Explosives Safety Analysis for Risk [1] – for consequence and risk modeling for explosives safety professionals
  • SOQRATES - Integrated Excel based system for Offshore QRA from DNV GL
  • iQRAS (ITEMSOFT Quantitative Risk Assessment System) from ItemSoft
  • RBM II (Risk Based Management II) from the Dutch Government
  • Phast and Safeti from DNV GL - Integrated Consequence and Risk modeling aimed at the onshore petrochemical and chemical process industry.
  • Safeti Offshore from DNV GL - for Offshore structures with 3D real-time modelling.
  • Safeti-NL - Dutch National QRA Model. A custom implementation of the DNV Phast Risk QRA software. Usage is mandated in the Netherlands according to BEVI legislation.
  • Shepherd - Frequency assessment software proprietary to Shell Global Solutions
  • QUARP - Risk assessment software aimed at the petrochemical and chemical process industry, proprietary to Granherne Ltd.
  • Riskcurves - Integrated QRA software from TNO
  • Effects - Consequence Analysis and damage calculation software from TNO
  • Riskan - QRA software from Riskan
  • PHAST Risk Suite - Financial QRA and Impact Study software PHAST Solutions

The following products have been superseded, or are no longer available:

  • Damage - Damage calculations to structures and individuals (now included in Effects) from TNO
  • Riskplot - formerly of Four Elements Software, now part of ERM
  • Offshore Hazard and Risk Analysis (OHRAT) - formerly of DNV GL
  • Neptune - formerly of DNV GL
  • PLATO - (formerly of Four Elements Software, now part of ERM ) See Journal of Loss Prevention Vol 7 no 4 July 1994 and Vol 10 no 4 July 1997


Some of the QRA software models described above must be used in isolation: for example the results from a consequence model cannot be used directly in a risk model. Other QRA software programs link different calculation modules together automatically to facilitate the process. Some of the software is proprietary and can only be used within certain organisations.

Due to the large amount of data processing required by QRA calculations, the usual approach has been to use two-dimensional ellipses to represent hazard zones such as the area around an explosion which poses a 10% chance of fatality. Similarly, a pragmatic approach is used in the simplification of dispersion results. Typically a flat terrain, unobstructed world is used to determine the behaviour of a dispersing cloud and/or a vaporizing pool. This presents problems when the effects of non-flat terrain or the complex geometry of process plants would no doubt affect the behaviour of a dispersing cloud. Though they have limitations, the 2D hazard zone and simplified approach to 3D dispersion modelling allow the handling of large volumes of risk results with known assumptions to assist in decision-making. The trade-off shifts as computer processing power increases.

The modeling of the consequences of hazardous events in a true 3D manner may require a different approach, for example using a computational fluid dynamics method to study cloud dispersion over hilly terrain. The creation of CFD models requires significantly more investment of time on the part of the modeling analyst (because of the increased complexity of the modeling), which may not be justified in all cases.

One major limitation of QRA in the safety field is that it is focussed primarily on the loss of containment of hazardous fluids and what happens when they are released. This renders QRA somewhat unworkable in hazardous industries that do not focus on fluid containment yet are still subject to catastrophic events (e.g. aviation, pharmaceuticals, mining, water treatment, etc.) This has led to the development of a risk process that draws on the experience of organisations and their employees to produce risk assessments that produce potential loss of life (PLL) outputs without fault and event tree modelling. This process is probably most commonly known by the name SQRA which was the first methodology to enter the marketplace in the late 1990s but is perhaps more accurately described by the term Experience-based Quantification (EBQ). Today there is a choice of software with which to undertake this methodology and it has been used extensively in the mining industry on a global basis.

See also[edit]

RAM Analysis

Risk Based Inspection Software

Consequence Analysis

  • Some of the above software products can also be used for pure consequence analysis

Qualitative Risk Assessment

links to various government regulations