The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (1999), or COMAH, came into force in Great Britain in April 1999. The general duty under COMAH regulation 4 requires that every operator shall take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences to persons and the environment. This general duty is consistent with the well-known principle in the UK of reducing risks to a level that is 'as low as reasonably practicable' (ALARP). This study has performed research into the use of risk in Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) operational decisions in the context of the COMAH regulation 4. The research focussed on the use of regulatory guidance, risk matrices and quantitative analysis (QRA) to demonstrate compliance with the ALARP principle. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses, for any particular situation. Cost benefit analysis (CBA) when used in conjunction with QRA is able to provide an economic justification as to whether risk reduction measures should be implemented.
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