This paper describes a method for identification of major acute risks in existing process facilities that have potential for serious impacts to on-site and offsite populations, and for prioritization of mitigating measures. The approach is based on a comprehensive assessment of the facility, which includes a review of process hazards, fire protection, emergency response, and management systems (administrative controls) using separate assessment protocols. The review involves interviews of key management and operating personnel, review of drawings, procedures and records, and inspection of plant facilities. Recommended risk mitigation measures are prioritized using a semi-quantitative risk ranking matrix. This paper presents the key elements of the methodology and provides examples of typical findings.
In the aftermath of major industrial accidents, many managers ponder the question: “Could this happen to us?” Obtaining prompt and reasonable assurance that such accidents are relatively unlikely in existing facilities can require a major effort, particularly if there are many plant locations or manufacturing sites with multiple units such as in chemical complexes or petroleum refineries. Performing a full quantitative risk assessment (QRA) of each plant or process unit can involve a major allocation of company resources and can take considerable time to implement. Moreover, such a detailed study is not always necessary to identify the major areas for risk reduction at the plant level. Given an appropriate framework, experienced technical and safety personnel can locate major hazards and rank them in terms of relative risk.
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