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Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible risks/failures in a design, a manufacturing/assembly process, or a product or services. "Failure modes" refers to the ways in which something might fail. An "effects analysis" studies the consequences of the failure. FMEA analyses prioritize risks/failures according to the seriousness of their consequences, their frequencies, and how easily they can be detected. FMEA analyses document the current and applicable knowledge and treatments of risk, and can be implemented during design to prevent failures.

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