Inherent safety assessment: current state of the art and why is still not effectively adopted by industry
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Inherent safety is a proactive approach to risk reduction. The industry should adopt it in the early stages of design as it is the most prominent approach to risk reduction, as described by experts. Researchers have worked on this concept for a long time. There has been a lot of work on inherent safety evaluation techniques, including quantitative index-based and consequence-based evaluation or qualitative methods. The index-based inherent safety evaluation methods may not help users to understand the hazards fully evolved by each process route because the exact cause of the hazards may remain unknown to the users. Many times, it is not clear which of several process alternatives is inherently safer. Often the evaluation approach may limit the users only to choose one option among several, rather than improving further on the selected one. Improved methods are needed, along with inherent safety ranking among several alternatives and for improvement of the selected one at the same time. The scope of inherent safety design should not include accident prevention or reduction; of course, it should be a part of overall risk management. The paper aims to frame the current state of the art of inherent safety evaluation work, the limitations, and conflicts in their practical application in industry.