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Components and families of components in mechatronic systems often exhibit failure characteristics that are independent of system context and repeatable across applications. In this paper, we show that it is possible to capture and reuse such patterns for the purposes of system safety analysis. We describe a language that enables expression of failure behaviour and describe a number of useful patterns in this language. The paper shows how careful reuse of failure patterns in conjunction with a tool that automates Fault Tree and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis can help to simplify complex safety assessments.