Risk Profile: Facilities – Plant/systems failure

Risk Profile: Facilities – Plant/systems failure (PDF version)

Plant systems failure is the failure of critical systems/equipment. A critical system is any system whose ‘failure’ could threaten human life, the system’s environment, or the organization which operates the system. Examples include: failure/impairment of fire suppression systems, sump pump, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, emergency power systems (generator), and boiler/water heater; water leaks/contamination; issues with  electrical infrastructure (including transformers and switchgear); fuel tank leaks; issues with telecommunication systems; medical gas delivery concerns, aging infrastructure, etc. This document contains information entered by your peers in the Risk Register application to help you manage this risk.


  • Likelihood – average score 2.78
  • Impact – average score 3.85

The Risk Register allows for risks to be assessed on a five-point likelihood and impact scale, with five being the highest.

Key controls/mitigation strategies

  • Posting of emergency numbers for use during ‘non-business’ hours
  • Staff are well-versed in what to do during an emergency situation
  • Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and/or Failure Mode and Effects Analysis done on any critical events
  • Power supply
    • Back-up generators/dual transformers/emergency power (red electrical outlets) for all critical equipment and systems (e.g. Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) for information systems)
    • Alternate/adequate fuel supply for generators maintained on-site
    • Engineer on call responds to all power generating situations
    • Multiple backup units with separate feeds
    • Hierarchy of equipment for generator supply
    • Consider installation of transfer switch allowing the use of chillers during power outages
  • Medical gas source/delivery
    • Comprehensive hospital emergency code procedures in place (code response teams)
    • Crisis escalation procedures in place
    • Multiple system redundancies
    • Emergency backup medical gas manifolds in critical care areas
    • Backup oxygen system for source failure external to building
    • Standby oxygen and medical air cylinders for localized system failures
    • Policies and procedures for failure of oxygen, medical air and vacuum
    • Portable suction units available in the event of vacuum failure
    • Preventive maintenance plan for all medical gas outlets
    • Bracket system to minimize outlet leaks
    • Respiratory therapist on call for emergencies
    • Partnership between respiratory therapy and plan operations
  • Aging infrastructure
    • Regular preventive maintenance and testing of systems to observe performance and ensure functionality
    • Preventive maintenance program to proactively deal with failing infrastructure
    • Capital planning for replacement of aging facilities, equipment
    • Comprehensive preventive maintenance program
    • Pipe replacement (galvanized iron pipe to steel pipe)
    • Transition from aging telephone ‘PBX’ (Private Branch Exchange) to digital lines
    • Replacement of boiler system from wing-wide temperature control to room-specific temperature control
    • Automated corrective and preventive maintenance schedule for critical infrastructure and equipment
  • Water/steam
    • Standard operating procedure in place for water/steam loss
    • Building automation system integrated with building operator pager
    • Domestic water isolation valves  used to provide flow logic (selecting one flow path versus another) for maintenance or safety


  • Organizational reporting system to identify stained tiles or water leaks
  • Plant engineering and plumber routinely monitor for evidence of new or recurring water leaks
  • Yearly inspection of all medical gas outlets (including leaks) of oxygen, air and vacuum by external partner
  • Monitoring of alarm panels and upgrades
  • Strict monitoring of the environment

[1] As of January 1, 2017

Note: information presented in this document has been taken from the shared repository of risks captured by HIROC subscribers participating in the Integrated Risk Management program.

© 2017 HIROC. For quality assurance purposes.