Avoiding product recalls and failures is a must for companies to remain successful in the consumer product industry. Large numbers of failed products result in significant profit losses do to repair or replacement costs as well as untraceable costs of reputation damage among customer bases. Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) is key to preventing product failures. When risks are adequately identified and assessed the potential product failures can be mitigated and save lives as well as company profit. Risk mitigation is more effective the earlier it can be applied in the design process; therefore, the identification and assessment of risk through PRA techniques is most beneficial to the company when employed early in the design process. This paper presents new techniques for performing four common PRAs, preliminary hazards analysis (PHA), failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA), fault tree analysis (FTA), and event tree analysis (ETA), during the conceptual phase of design, when products have yet to assume a physical form. The backbone for the application of these PRA techniques during the conceptual design phase is the Risk in Early Design (RED) Method. RED generates a listing of potential product risk based on historical failure occurrences. These risks are categorized by function, which enables this preliminary risk assessment to be performed during conceptual design. A risk analysis is performed for a bicycle that demonstrates the powerful failure prevention ability of RED and PRA during conceptual product design with a Consumer Product Safety Commission recall.

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