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The role of risk assessment in obtaining technical information for emergency preparedness and planning due to major industrial accidents: views from a UN international project

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Government, industry and the community now recognise the need to identify, assess and control the risks to both people and the environment that come from potentially hazardous industries. Comprehensive risk assessment and safety management are essential to ensure an orderly development and the safety of people and the environment. The increased awareness that hazards and accidents may result in a significant loss of life and property has led to the application of systematic approaches, methods and tools for risk assessment. Because major accidents may or may not occur over the entire life of a plant or a process, it is not appropriate to base the assessment process on the consequences of accidents in isolation. The likelihood or probability that such accidents will occur should be taken into account. Such probabilities and resultant risk levels should reflect the level of design, operational and organisational controls available at the plant. There are a number of uncertainties associated with the quantification of risk. Significant procedural and methodological advances (e.g. specialised databases) have been developed in order to address and reduce the effect of such uncertainties. The risk assessment and management process should in all cases expose and recognise such uncertainties. Emergency planning, preparedness and response are essential elements of integrated risk management. Hazard identification and evaluation are an integral part of the emergency planning process. This paper provides a unified view of risk assessment and preparedness planning and procedures for obtaining technical information on the improvements of risk management strategies in case of major industrial accidents.

Keywords: databases, emergency planning, regional risk assessment, systems analysis, industrial accidents, emergency preparedness, emergency management, safety management, risk management, hazard identification, , hazard evaluation, technical information

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