Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a widely used engineering technique for designing, identifying and eliminating known and/or potential failures, problems, errors and so on from system, design, process, and/or service before they reach the customer (Stamatis, 1995). In a typical FMEA, for each failure modes, three risk factors; severity (S), occurrence (O), and detectability (D) are evaluated and a risk priority number (RPN) is obtained by multiplying these factors. There are significant efforts which have been made in FMEA literature to overcome the shortcomings of the crisp RPN calculation. In this study a fuzzy approach, allowing experts to use linguistic variables for determining S, O, and D, is considered for FMEA by applying fuzzy 'technique for order preference by similarity to ideal solution' (TOPSIS) integrated with fuzzy 'analytical hierarchy process' (AHP). The hypothetical case study demonstrated the applicability of the model in FMEA under fuzzy environment. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.