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Keywords:

  • process safety;
  • incidents;
  • history;
  • future;
  • societal risk

Abstract

“…in the eyes of the public the industry is one.”

Trevor Kletz (b. 1922)

Process safety risk reduction efforts are a part of our journey to make our chemical industry safer for people and the environment. This article focuses on our process safety risk reduction efforts, providing (1) a brief historical discussion, (2) a framework for today's current practices, and (3) a proposal for some future efforts. Process safety practices have evolved over the years and continue to evolve today as we share our new practices and theories. In addition, today's digital age continues to enhance our ability to share information across the globe, and it has accelerated the changing nature of the public's view of the chemical industry—the public's concept of acceptable societal risk. Our right to operate chemical facilities is based on several factors, including our effect on neighboring communities, the public's changing perception, and the governmental regulations created in response to major fires, explosions, and toxic releases. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2012