Major incidents in chemical process plants such as Bhopal have raised the questions of facility, safety, and security by stakeholders and interest groups. How will the facility be perceived as safe given the possible consequences? No one denies that there have been improvements in process safety since Bhopal and many safety regulations have come into effect. The public may still question whether it is safe to live or work near a chemical plant today.
This paper discusses the risk that the public should accept under governmental leadership and guidance. Also discussed is how the chemical process industry should ensure risk acceptance criteria compliance and maintenance of compliance throughout the lifetime of a facility. Safety may be enforced by compliance with a pre-defined set of risk acceptance criteria. These criteria may be absolute and tangible, but in some cases are more abstract. Different practices are seen among different countries, states, and regions as well as between different industry segments. This paper discusses the meaning of risk acceptance criteria and how exposed people and regulatory bodies should relate to the criteria. © 2007 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2007