- Once process risks in ongoing operations have been both identified and evaluated, the acceptability of the risks and the need for risk reduction must be considered. Some examples of potential risk-reducing measures include increasing operator training, substituting less hazardous materials, reducing inventories, modifying equipment, upgrading protective systems, installing additional or improved process control, increasing separation distances, improving monitoring and testing and changing materials of constructions. These various measures would reduce process risk either by reducing the likelihood of occurrence, reducing the consequences of a release or eliminating some risk altogether. Planning a risk reduction program requires establishment of philosophies or criteria for evaluating the acceptability of process risks.
- From a management perspective, it is not sufficient to identify potential process risk-reduction measures. Effective implementation of risk-reduction measures is imperative. This may require quality assurance, supervision, support for ongoing efforts and the continuous updating of drawings and procedures. A commitment of resources to the overall program is required for the implementation of the appropriate measures.
- Communication channels should be established to allow engineering; maintenance and operations staff to give their input on perceived hazards and recommended risk reduction on an ongoing basis. These comments can be reviewed at a suitable level and subsequent recommendations examined at plant level. Procedures that recognize the value of operator intervention in to a potentially unsafe situation should also be implemented. Management should create an environment in which operators will not hesitate to provide input on process safety.
- In addition to risk reduction actions that are taken in response to specific risk and hazard studies, many companies also have specific design standards intended to control risks.
- Controlling the risk reduction process is very important. Once a process risk has been identified and evaluated, it is important to maintain detailed records of subsequent decisions and actions, regardless of the course of action that is followed.
- Reference: CCPS(1989) Guidelines for Technical Management of Chemical Process Safety