Integration Between Occupational and Process Safety: Existing Approaches and Challenges for an Enhanced Framework
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Occupational safety is traditionally managed distinctly from process safety. The former puts the emphasis on high frequency and low consequence incidents, and refers to hazards that could provoke human consequences. In contrast, the latter focuses on releases of chemicals, energy, or hazardous materials, leading to low likelihood but high consequence accidents with severe negative effects to people, environment, assets, and/or business. However, neither personal safety nor process safety should be compromised, and their common priority should remain the elimination and mitigation of adverse consequences for workers. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of existing approaches for harmonising the assessments of personal and process safety risks, pointing out the main challenges to be addressed for developing a future enhanced framework. To achieve this aim, a systematic literature review in databases of scientific publications was carried out. The review returned 14 studies, most of which propose a new method or tool (e.g., risk index). The critical analysis of these results indicated the strengths and weaknesses of each approach that represent helpful starting points for an enhanced framework. Such a framework should systematically identify hazards, hazardous events, and exposure conditions that cause harm to employees, and should establish a ranking of the risks according to their criticality for prioritising risk management efforts.