International Chemical Accident Risk Assessment Thesaurus goes online

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has funded a new method of comparing risk assessment approaches for chemical facilities in different countries across the world, which has now been made available to the public via the internet.

The international Chemical Accident Risk Assessment Thesaurus (CARAT(TM)) is designed to cut out the confusion and difficulties in communication brought about by differences in methodologies in risk assessment. The database currently contains 32 entries form OECD member countries and the European Commission, though it is expected to grow over time as other countries and organisations add information.

The system operates by looking at the four elements which describe risk assessment: hazard identification, release and exposure scenarios, hazard reaction, and the likelihood of an incident. CARAT(TM) is searchable, and includes laws, regulations, definitions and policies related to risk assessment in the context of chemical accident prevention, preparedness, and response.

The database is expected to be used by any parties interested in risk assessment and chemical accidents, including community representatives and industry, and can be used by private companies with facilities in a number of countries, in order to compare legislative requirements.

Examples of entries in CARAT(TM) include: provisions of the Netherlands’ entry on over-ground storage of petroleum products in small installations; guidance by the Canadian Chemical Producer’s Association on site acute risk assessment; and the US Environmental Protection agency’s chemical accident risk management programme.

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