Growing concern about the risk of major chemical accidents in the U.S. has led both government and industry to find new ways to identify and evaluate potential hazards. Among the most promising (and misunderstood) approaches is a collection of techniques called quantitative risk assessment (QRA). Adapted primarily from probabilistic risk assessment approaches developed in other industries, the use of QRA is spreading rapidly through the U.S. chemical industry. Of equal importance, legislators and regulatory agencies at the state and federal level are making QRA an integral part of their proposals for mandatory accident prevention measures.

This paper summarizes a workshop on QRA that was presented at the International Conference and Workshop on Process Safety Management, sponsored by the AIChE Center for Chemical Process Safety, in Toronto during May 1990. It is based on A Manager's Guide to QRA [1] developed for the Chemical Manufacturers Association. This paper gives an overview of the Guide and discusses important implications concerning the increasing acceptance of QRA as a chemical regulatory tool.