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System Safety Assessment (SSAS)

Course details

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This course aims to cover the analysis and assessment phase of the system safety engineering life-cycle for a proposed product or service. It does so by considering the inputs to this phase, the qualitative and quantitative analysis techinques that can be employed within this phase and the outputs from this phase in terms of evidence into the safety case regime. It also considers the changing assessment requirements as more integrated and complex systems are developed.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • explain the role of system safety assessment in the safety lifecycle;
  • describe and participate in RBD, FMEA, Markov and cause-consequence techniques;
  • describe and participate in fault tree construction;
  • describe and participate in the production and evaluation of fault tree cut sets;
  • describe and participate in the production and evaluation of fault tree quantitative analysis;
  • select appropriate analysis techniques for particular situations;
  • assess the implications of the results of system safety analysis;
  • explain the role of system safety assessment techniques during detailed design;
  • explain the role and issues surrounding system safety analysis in safety arguments;
  • compare manual and automated performance of system safety assessment;
  • discuss the state of the art and future directions in system safety assessment;
  • critically evaluate performance of system safety assessment by others.

Who is the course for?

This course is suitable for:

  • practitioners across all domains including aerospace, military, railway, automotive, civil nuclear, civil maritime, medical devices, healthcare, and so on;
  • developers of equipment safety cases during design for software, hardware, procedures, systems and/or platforms;
  • developers of safety cases for operational safety and disposal;
  • reviewers of safety cases within an organisation or as an independent activity;
  • developers and reviewers of changes to existing safety-critical / safety-related equipment and operations;
  • project managers where development of a safety case is a significant element of projects they manage;
  • regulators of safety critical domains.


A basic understanding of system safety terminology and lifecycle via prior learning or industrial experience. It is useful for you to have taken our Foundations of System Safety Engineering course, but if you have not, please email us with your details so we can assess your suitability for taking this course.

How is the course taught?

The course takes place over one week at the University of York. This week consists of a mixture of lectures and practicals, but we expect you to put in around 30 hours of private study.

Over the week, there will be a series of lectures and a number of case studies. The case studies give you the chance to work through an example to reinforce your learning from the lectures. This is also a chance to gain other insights from the experience and knowledge of other delegates. You will also be able to call on the experience and knowledge of our specialised teaching staff during these sessions.  

The module ends with an assessed exercise, which you have the option of completing. It takes approximately 35 hours in addition to the scheduled teaching time and can be completed on or off site. All assessed exercises are open (so you won't take an exam in supervised conditions), and comprise a report, case study, or documented piece of software.

If you choose to take and pass your assessment, your results can count towards the completion of the MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering. Our MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering is an accredited course, recognised by both the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for the purposes of partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for CEng registration.


 Logo from BCS (Chartered Institute of IT) showing our accredited status

 IET Accredited programmes logo   Find out more about what this professional accreditation means.

Recommended reading

JD Andrews & TR Moss Reliability and Risk Assessment Professional Engineering Publishing 2006
Nureg Fault Tree Handbook Nureg 1981
O'Connor Practical Reliability Engineering 5thed Wiley 2012
A. Elsayed Reliability Engineering Wiley 2012
Carl S. Calson Effective FMEAs Wiley 2012
N. Singpurwalla Reliability and Risk: Bayesian Perspective Wiley 2006

Book your place

Book your place

Due to the Corvid-19 situation, teaching for the Autumn term will take place online with a combination of pre-recorded lectures and live exercises. The next SSAS instance will commence w/c 30th November 2020 and live exercises will take place w/c 14th December 2020.

Before booking, please read our Booking Conditions (PDF , 104kb).

To book your place, please complete the booking form and payment form below and return to our Student & Academic Administration Team. Payment can be made online via credit/debit card

CPD Booking Form 2020/21 (MS Word , 70kb)

CPD Payment Form 2020-21 (MS Word , 65kb)

If you have any queries, please contact Heather Taylor, our course administrator, or call 01904 325536.

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Fantastic amount of real life examples to encourage you to think more.