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Applications of Bayesian networks and Petri nets in safety, reliability, and risk assessments: A review

Kabir, Sohag; Papadopoulos, Yiannis


Sohag Kabir


System safety, reliability and risk analysis are important tasks that are performed throughout the system life-cycle to ensure the dependability of safety-critical systems. Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) approaches are comprehensive, structured and logical methods widely used for this purpose. PRA approaches include, but not limited to, Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), and Event Tree Analysis (ETA). Growing complexity of modern systems and their capability of behaving dynamically make it challenging for classical PRA techniques to analyse such systems accurately. For a comprehensive and accurate analysis of complex systems, different characteristics such as functional dependencies among components, temporal behaviour of systems, multiple failure modes/states for components/systems, and uncertainty in system behaviour and failure data are needed to be considered. Unfortunately, classical approaches are not capable of accounting for these aspects. Bayesian networks (BNs) have gained popularity in risk assessment applications due to their flexible structure and capability of incorporating most of the above mentioned aspects during analysis. Furthermore, BNs have the ability to perform diagnostic analysis. Petri Nets are another formal graphical and mathematical tool capable of modelling and analysing dynamic behaviour of systems. They are also increasingly used for system safety, reliability and risk evaluation. This paper presents a review of the applications of Bayesian networks and Petri nets in system safety, reliability and risk assessments. The review highlights the potential usefulness of the BN and PN based approaches over other classical approaches, and relative strengths and weaknesses in different practical application scenarios.


Kabir, S., & Papadopoulos, Y. (2019). Applications of Bayesian networks and Petri nets in safety, reliability, and risk assessments: A review. Safety science, 115, 154-175.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 14, 2019
Publication Date Jun 1, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 14, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 15, 2020
Journal Safety Science
Print ISSN 0925-7535
Electronic ISSN 1879-1042
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 115
Pages 154-175
Keywords Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health; Safety Research; Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Applications of Bayesian networks and Petri nets in safety, reliability, and risk assessments: A review; Journal Title: Safety Science; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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