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Risk assessment
 

The permit application file must include a risk assessment stating that the project can attain, within economically acceptable conditions, a risk level as low as possible, taking into account current knowledge and practices as well as the vulnerability of the installation’s environment.
The risk assessment, like the rest of the application, must be drafted by the operator, under his own responsibility.

3Content of the assessment3

The content of the risk assessment must be proportional to the importance of the risks generated by the installation, taking into account its environment and the vulnerability of the interests mentioned in articles L. 211-1 and L. 511-1 of the environmental code.
This assessment must in particular:

  • take account of the examination carried out by the operator with a view to reducing the risks to the environment and populations;
  • provide information to the public and workers, notably via the public enquiry;
  • provide all useful elements for the deliberation of the Departmental Council for the environment and health and technological risks (CODERST), which gives its decision on the application. It is important that this risk assessment be thorough and completed by taking into account the importance of the risks inherent in the project. Therefore, the risk assessment must include a list and description of the accidents likely to occur. Accidents can be of internal origin. In this respect, the design of the installation, the nature of the products used, manufactured or stored, the operating method and production processes, inspections and regulations implemented, personnel training and organisation in terms of safety are crucial factors. External causes of accidents, such as the risks associated with the proximity of hazardous installations or transport structures, natural dangers (flooding, storms, earthquakes etc.), airplane crashes etc., should also be included

3Methods3

The analysis of past accidents reveals that these accidents most frequently result from the combination of simple events of limited seriousness in themselves. Therefore, the assessment must demonstrate that the conjunction of simple events has been taken into account in the identification of accident causes.
If necessary, methods such as causal trees or fault trees make this search more thorough.
These methods can also facilitate the study of the scenarios that can lead to an accident and make it possible to properly evaluate the effects.
The assessment should describe the nature and extent of the consequences of a potential accident on the environment and the populations concerned. Assumptions and accident scenarios (= chain of events leading to an accident) used at this stage should be clearly explained and the examination should take into account the characteristics of the projected site of the installation.

Note: these elements are for information purposes and should under no circumstances be considered as exhaustive

3Risk control measures3

The applicant must state the measures he intends to take in terms of prevention, limitation and intervention.
These measures must not only be determined according to the causes and consequences of possible accidents but also based on the existence of best available techniques (BAT), to improve safety by comparing them with best-equipped similar installations in France or abroad.
This assessment also specifies, taking into account the applicant’s knowledge of public emergency resources, the nature and organisation of private emergency resources available or potentially available to the applicant to limit the effects of a potential accident.
In the case of installations likely to generate, through explosion or emission of toxic substances, very serious risks to the health and safety of the local population and the environment, for which public easements may be instituted, the applicant must provide the elements necessary for public authorities to establish a specific response plan.

Note: these elements are for information purposes and should under no circumstances be considered as exhaustive

3Key elements in a risk assessment3

In the case of complex installations or for further detail, you should refer to the methodology guide “General principles for the establishment and consultation of risk assessments”.

If certain elements are already sufficiently detailed in another section of the application, like for example the impact assessment, you can simply refer to them.

  • Environment description and characterisation (and associated plans);
  • Description of the installations and their operation,
  • For Seveso AS facilities: Presentation of the safety management system (SGS) and link with the risk assessment;
  • Identification and characterisation of potential hazards;
  • Reduction in potential hazards;
  • Lessons learned from previous experience (significant accidents and incidents);
  • Risk assessment;
  • Characterisation and classification of the different potential phenomena and accidents in terms of effect intensity for phenomena, seriousness of consequences for accidents, probability and development kinetics, taking into account the efficiency of prevention and protection measures;
  • Evolutions and improvement measures proposed by the operator;
  • Cartographic representation;
  • Non-technical summary of the risk assessment