Introduction of frequency in France following the AZF accident

Abstract : In France, regulations regarding risk prevention and risk management are the result of more than 200 years of legislation, the evolution of which has often been consecutive to industrial accidents. Two years after the industrial accident of AZF (French initials for AZote Fertilisant), a new law was introduced on July 30, 2003 which described both prevention and repair of the damage caused by industrial and natural disasters. Since then, regulations have been made considerably tighter and the entire approach towards risk assessment has changed. This law has developed very interesting tools for risk assessment and risk management (some of which are unique worldwide) and has initiated the use of frequency and probability in the French system. Better information to the public, stronger regulations, new methodology for safety reports, over-hauling of land-use planning and improved accident analysis are some of the mainstays of the law. Regarding the introduction of frequencies and probabilities, as operators in France are free to choose the methodology of probability assessment, it is interesting to review the different methodologies used by operators, with their advantages and disadvantages. In the light of these elements, France's National Institute of Industrial Environment and Risks (INERIS) has developed a methodology and tools aiming at helping both operators and authorities in the assessment of accident probabilities. This methodology focuses on installation characteristics. However, to deal with the lack of input data, tools are developed to build up available generic data regarding loss of containment, initiating events, safety barrier failure rates and root causes distributions. Six years after the law of July 30, 2003 was passed, it is now possible to highlight the challenges and improvements brought about by the use of frequency and probability in risk assessment and policies developed as a result.
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Clément Lenoble, Clarisse Durand. Introduction of frequency in France following the AZF accident. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Elsevier, 2011, 24 (3), pp.227-236. ⟨10.1016/j.jlp.2010.09.003⟩. ⟨ineris-00961759⟩

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