A Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) is a Risk Management tool that assesses the safety-critical functions within a system’s architecture and design. It analyzes high-level failures and identifies all lower-level (sub-system) failures that cause it. FTA is useful during the initial product design phase as a tool for driving the design through an evaluation of both reliability and fault probability perspectives. It can be used to estimate and develop a system’s performance reliability requirements to reduce the likelihood of undesired events from occurring.
FTA is particularly useful in functional paths of high complexity in which the outcome of one or more combinations of noncritical events may produce an undesirable critical event. Typical candidates for fault tree analysis are functional paths or interfaces which could have critical impact on flight safety, munitions handling safety, safety of operating and maintenance personnel, and probability of error free command in automated systems in which a multiplicity of redundant and overlapping outputs may be involved. The fault tree provides a concise and orderly description of the various combinations of possible occurrences within the system which can result in a predetermined critical output event.