exida explains Blog

Grasping the Power of the (Stuxnet) Virus (or What I did during the COVID-19 Pandemic)

Grasping the Power of the (Stuxnet) Virus (or What I did during the COVID-19 Pandemic)

The travel and group meeting restrictions from COVID-19 have allowed me to catch up on some reading about viruses; not the type that get transmitted to humans. This article is about the Stuxnet virus and what I learned from the book “Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of…

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What’s inside a COVID-19 Ventilator?

What’s inside a COVID-19 Ventilator?

At exida, we just finished a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) on a medical ventilator. This was done for a new manufacturer who needed independent design verification.  It was a fascinating job.  We found lots of pneumatic devices very similar if not identical to the kind used in…

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With Many Automation Professionals Working From Home Cybersecurity Exposure is Rising

With Many Automation Professionals Working From Home Cybersecurity Exposure is Rising

One of the commonly targeted pathways into an Industrial Automation and Control System (IACS) is through compromised remote access such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). During the Stay at Home Orders and other self-quarantining measures around the globe to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, many…

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10 Years After, Has Anything Been Learned from Deepwater Horizon?

10 Years After, Has Anything Been Learned from Deepwater Horizon?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since the Deepwater Horizon incident on April 20th 2010.  Even today, the Gulf Coast is still feeling the effects.  In its latest estimates, BP is looking at a total loss of $65Bn USD, in settlements, fines and compensation.  This latest estimate was published in…

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Which Measure (Rationalized or Annunciated) is More Important?

Which Measure (Rationalized or Annunciated) is More Important?

Get your priorities (distribution) straight

A very common question is posed during alarm management training.  Does the recommended alarm priority distribution of ~5% / ~15% / ~80% for high / medium / low priority alarms apply to the rationalized alarm priority distribution (as configured in the control system) or to the annunciatedalarm priority distribution…

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Back to Basics: Failure Rates - λD

Back to Basics: Failure Rates - λD

The Greek symbol  λD represents dangerous failure rates in functional safety, usually expressed in the unit of measurement of FITs, and can be determined through FMEDAs. (FITs (λ) are failures per billion hours, expressed by 10-9 hours).

λD is the number of dangerous failures per…

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Training in 2020 and Beyond.  Adapting to COVID-19 with Online Solutions.
  • by Rick Smith
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • News

Training in 2020 and Beyond.  Adapting to COVID-19 with Online Solutions.

Bow Ties Part II: Do Bow Ties have a place in Alarm Management?

Bow Ties Part II: Do Bow Ties have a place in Alarm Management?

As discussed in Part I, bow tie diagrams provide an easy-to-understand visual representation of risk management information (hazards, potential consequences, barriers, degradation factors and controls). In this article we examine the applicability of bow ties to alarm management.

According to the CCPS book “Bow Ties in Risk Management”,…

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Back to Basics: Failure Rates - λ

Back to Basics: Failure Rates - λ

The Greek symbol lambda, λ, represents failure rates in functional safety, usually expressed in the unit of measurement of FITS.

λ can be expressed as a total failure rate for a device (λT), or it can be broken down into more specific groupings:

  • Safe detected (λSD)
  • Safe undetected (λSU)
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The CFSE Exam is Now Offered Online!
  • by Ted Stewart, CFSP, exidaCSP
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2020
  • Certification

The CFSE Exam is Now Offered Online!

Alarm Philosophy Development – Going to Great Lengths

Alarm Philosophy Development – Going to Great Lengths

Creating an alarm philosophy document is often the entry point into the ISA-18.2/IEC 62682 alarm management lifecycle. Many tasked with developing one are discouraged by its length and the barriers it creates. When it comes to using the philosophy document, a common concern is that if the…

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Back to Basics: Failure Rates - FITS

Back to Basics: Failure Rates - FITS

Failures ITime or Failure UnIT

FITs is the number of failures per billion hours for a piece of equipment. 

It is mentioned in both IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 standards as a preferred unit of measurement expressed by 10-9 hours.

Example: 5 FITs is expressed as 5 failures every 10-9 hours (5x10-9). 

When you…

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I Failed the CFSE Exam, HELP!
  • by Dr. William Goble, CFSE
  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Certification

I Failed the CFSE Exam, HELP!

It is tough to receive an email with this message from a prospective CFSE candidate.  I know that when I have failed exams, I want to understand what was wrong so I can study those areas of knowledge more deeply and try again. Given the recognition and prestige…

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Back to Basics: Failure Rates

Back to Basics: Failure Rates

Failure rates are the number of failures per unit time for a piece of equipment which are usually assumed to be a constant value. They can be broken down into several categories, such as safe and dangerous, detected and undetected, and independent/normal and common cause. Failure rates are often…

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Bow Ties Part I: Great for Formal Occasions and for Risk Management

Bow Ties Part I: Great for Formal Occasions and for Risk Management

The bow tie methodology, originally developed by ICI in the late 1970’s, has seen increasing industry adoption over the last 20 years. Bow tie diagrams build on the “Swiss Cheese Model” of hazard escalation and causation popularized by James Reason. They provide a powerful means for visualizing how a…

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