What is As Low as Reasonably Practicable?

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      Nasir Hussain

      ALARP (“as low as reasonably practicable”), or ALARA (“as low as reasonably achievable”), SFAIRP (“so far as is reasonably practicable”), all these terms have the same meaning and implementation.
      The use of the ALARP principle may be interpreted as, satisfying a requirement to keep the risk level “as low as possible” provided that the ALARP evaluations are extensively documented
      The concept of ALARP in health, safety, and environmental systems is that efforts to reduce risk should be continued until the further attempts (in terms of cost, time, effort, or other expenditure of resources) is grossly disproportionate to the achieved level of the risk reduction.
      Several factors are should be considered when deciding whether or not risk has been reduced to ALARP
      • Health and safety guidelines and codes of practice
      • Manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations
      • Industry practice
      • International standards and laws
      • Suggestions from advisory bodies
      • Comparison with similar hazardous events in other industries
      • Cost of further measures would be disproportionate to the risk reduction they would achieve
      • Another factor is the assessment of the cost required to reduce the risk level.
      Making sure a risk has been reduced to ALARP is about weighing the risk against the costs needed to further reduce it. Examples of Alarp are
      To spend $1m to prevent five staff suffering bruised knees is obviously grossly disproportionate; but
      To spend $1m to prevent a major explosion capable of killing 150 people is obviously proportionate.
      To wear an ear plug/muff is better than replacement of equipment costing $1m.

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