Formal Safety Assessment

What Is Fsa?
Formal Safety Assessment is a structured, systematic five-step methodology, aimed at enhancing maritime safety including the protection of life, health, the marine environment and property using risk analysis, cost benefit analysis and regulatory influence diagrams to facilitate decision making.

What Are The Benefits Of Fsa?

1. It buys as much safety as possible
         Chooses options for risk control that overall give:-
                   good reduction of risk and,
                   good value for money
         Therefore needs to know not only that a particular measure will:-
                   improve safety or environmental protection but also:-
                   by how much, and
                   at what cost ?
2. Ensures the safety measures are equitable
         Makes sure that securing benefit(s) for some is not unreasonably at the expense or detriment of others
         Therefore needs to know for any particular safety or environmental protection measure:
                   who carries the risk
                   who benefits from the risk reduction and
                   who bears the cost

The Five Step Process

Step 1

  • identifies the hazards that might cause accidents
  • takes full account of the human element
  • develops accident scenarios and outcomes arising from the identified hazards
  • ranks and screens the accident scenarios and hazards

Step 2

  • focuses on the important scenarios from step 1
  • quantifies the risk of each scenario
  • analyses where these risks arise from, to focus attention on principal underlying causes
  • identifies the significant factors which influence the level of risk

Step 3

  • focuses attention on factors contributing to high risk
  • identifies measures to control risk
  • evaluates the anticipated reduction in risk by implementing these measures

Step 4

  • determine the costs and benefits for each risk control option identified in step 3
  • compare the cost effectiveness of these risk control options

Step 5

  • considers the affected stakeholders and the effects of proposed options on them, based on the information about hazards, risks, options, costs and benefits
  • assists in the selection of regulatory option(s)
  • makes recommendations to the decision-makers

The following Flowchart demonstrates the 5 step FSA methodology.

Using the information provided by the FSA process the decision-makers decide! The FSA process does not supplant or undermine the decision-making role but provides reliable information. For the latest version of GUIDELINES FOR FORMAL SAFETY ASSESSMENT (FSA) FOR USE IN THE IMO RULE-MAKING PROCESS, please go the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) website at

Customer Base

We provide a service that covers both internal and external customers. Internal customers want access to reliable casualty information or information management and technical risk assessment assistance leading to effectively targeted regulation development. External customers such as the UK maritime industry, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and European Union (EU) Technical Committees also benefit from our advice.

What We Do

  • Highlight the high risk areas to inform decisions about deployment of MCA’s resources
  • Provide safety and environmental risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis resources to the MCA, IMO and the maritime industry
  • Support the development of the FSA methodology through work with international bodies.
  • Provide support to IMO and EU technical committees in relation to maritime safety and pollution prevention within maritime industry.
  • Provide internal consultancy on FSA and risk assessment matters
  • Promote and disseminate the FSA technique throughout MCA.
  • Manage maritime casualty information.
  • Support the provision of accessible information that is complete and reliable to aid the decision making process.
  • Promote the rational, effective and equitable development of maritime safety measures and regulation.

For further information please contact:
Research and Planning
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Tel: 023 80329 171