To assist the chemistry community in addressing the last of these findings, which as mentioned above has been noted as a barrier to performing inherently safer process assessments, the committee highlighted a method of decision analysis, multi-attribute utility (MAU) theory. This method was considered as an option for addressing appropriate weightings of multiple outcomes of an ISP analysis or assessment and to assist with placement of the findings of that analysis within the context of a full analysis of all costs and benefits associated with a process. MAU theory provides one possible framework for incorporating input and relative weightings from multiple perspectives and stakeholders, and as such, could be an aid for decision making. As a result, the committee recommends that the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and Hazard Investigation Board or other appropriate entity convene a working group to chart a plan for incorporating decision theory frameworks into ISP assessments. The working group should include experts in chemical engineering, ISP design, decision sciences, negotiations, and other relevant disciplines. The working group should identify obstacles to employing methods from the decision sciences in process safety assessments. It should identify options for tailoring these methods to the chemical process industry and incentives that would encourage their use.


In examining the potential utility of ISP assessments to incident investigation, it becomes clear that the principles of ISP assessment can be used to good effect in conducting an incident investigation when the objective is the prevention of potential incidents having similar fundamental, underlying (root) causes. It is possible that over time, findings from ISP assessments performed in the wake of an accident could identify trends in process design that could be used to improve future systems. Findings from an investigation may be of use when refining the models that support existing ISP assessments. A post-incident ISP assessment may help identify unanticipated hazards within a given process that could inform the rebuild or redesign of the facility.

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