Assignment of SIL

Assignment of SIL is an exercise in risk analysis where the risk associated with a specific hazard, that is intended to be protected against by a SIF, is calculated without the beneficial risk reduction effect of the SIF. That unmitigated risk is then compared against a tolerable risk target.

The difference between the unmitigated risk and the tolerable risk, if the unmitigated risk is higher than tolerable, must be addressed through risk reduction of the SIF. This amount of required risk reduction is correlated with the SIL target. In essence, each order of magnitude of risk reduction that is required correlates with an increase in one of the required SIL numbers.

There are several methods used to assign a SIL. These are normally used in combination, and may include:

  1. Risk matrices
  2. Risk graphs
  3. Layers of protection analysis (LOPA)

Of the methods presented above, LOPA is by far the most commonly used by large industrial facilities.
The assignment may be tested using both pragmatic and controllability approaches, applying guidance on SIL assignment published by the UK HSE. SIL assignment processes that use the HSE guidance to ratify assignments developed from Risk Matrices have been certified to meet IEC EN 61508 1

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