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The Worker Exposure Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

L. C. Cadwallader

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 47 / Number 4 / May 2005 / Pages 995-1002


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The Worker Exposure Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (WE-FMEA) is a new approach to quantitatively evaluate worker risks from possible failures of co-located equipment in the complex environment of a magnetic or inertial fusion experiment. For next-step experiments such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) or the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the systems and equipment will be larger, handle more throughput or power, and will, in general, be more robust than past experiments. These systems and equipment are necessary to operate the machine, but the rooms are congested with equipment, piping, and cables, which poses a new level of hazard for workers who will perform hands-on maintenance. The WE-FMEA systematically analyzes the nearby equipment and the work environment for equipment failure or inherent hazards, and then develops exposure scenarios. Once identified, the exposure scenarios are evaluated for the worker hazards and quantitative worker risk is calculated. Then risk scenarios are quantitatively compared to existing statistical data on worker injuries; high-risk scenarios can be identified and addressed in more detail to determine the proper means to reduce, mitigate, or protect against the hazard. The WE-FMEA approach is described and a cooling system maintenance example is given.

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