2.6.6 Step 5: failure consequences
Failure consequences determine how each failure mode matters concerning safety, environmental, operational and non-operational issues. Safety and environmental consequences are treated as higher‑priority failure consequences.
The severity of consequences is the greatest influence on preventative measures nominated within the RCM process. Failure modes identified to have serious consequences will have more stringent preventative measures in place, whilst failure modes with minimal effects may be managed with little maintenance requirements.
The RCM strategy recognises that the consequences of failures are far more important than their technical characteristics. It recognises that the main reason for doing any kind of proactive maintenance is not to avoid failures, but to avoid and reduce the consequences of failure. The RCM process classifies these consequences into four groups:
- Hidden failure consequences – hidden failures have no direct impact, but they expose the organisation to potentially multiple failures with serious, often catastrophic, consequences.
- Safety and environmental consequences – a failure has safety consequences if it can lead to injury or death; it has environmental consequences if it could lead to a breach of any corporate, regional, national or international environmental standard.
- Operational consequences – a failure has operational consequences if it affects road network operation.
- Non-operational consequences – evident failures that fall into this category affect neither safety nor operation, so they involve only the direct cost of repair.