Abstract When the failure probability of a system is extremely small or necessary statistical data from the system is scarce, it is very difficult or impossible to evaluate its reliability and safety with conventional fault tree analysis (FTA) techniques. New techniques are needed to predict and diagnose such a system's failures and evaluate its reliability and safety. In this paper, we first provide a concise overview of FTA. Then, based on the posbist reliability theory, event failure behavior is characterized in the context of possibility measures and the structure function of the posbist fault tree of a coherent system is defined. In addition, we define the AND operator and the OR operator based on the minimal cut of a posbist fault tree. Finally, a model of posbist fault tree analysis (posbist FTA) of coherent systems is presented. The use of the model for quantitative analysis is demonstrated with a real-life safety system.