Criteria are used to help decide whether the risk associated with a project or activity is low enough to proceed. The key question then, is when is low enough good enough?
This paper describes the flexible framework in use in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries for deciding on the tolerability of risk. The levels of individual risk that are generally accepted world-wide as intolerable are presented. The situation is not so straightforward for societal risk, where there is a wide variation in both regulatory and operator criteria.
In reality, the risks associated with most facilities lie in the middle band of the risk tolerability framework – the ALARP region. This paper describes the process used to demonstrate that risk levels have been reduced to ALARP. Insights are provided on the appropriate tools to apply during the life of a facility. It is concluded that, in practice, this amounts to taking a balanced view and reaching a defensible consensus amongst stakeholders.