ALARP and Risk Management

ALARP and Risk Management

08 Apr 2024

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This informal CPD article ‘ALARP and Risk Management’, was provided by Synergen Oil and Gas UK, an independent engineering consultancy specialising in Process Safety, Technical Risk Management and Operational Safety services.

ALARP stands for "As Low As Reasonably Practicable" and represents a key principle in risk management, aiming to minimize workplace risks to a level where the cost of further reduction would be disproportionate to the benefit gained. This principle is foundational in balancing safety measures against economic feasibility, ensuring practical and effective risk management.

Historical Context

The concept of ALARP is deeply rooted in Health and Safety at Work etc. Act of 1974, a cornerstone of occupational health and safety legislation in the UK. This act mandates employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees to a reasonably practicable extent, emphasizing the need for practical and efficient risk management practices across various workplace scenarios.

Establishing the Basis of ALARP

A practical approach to achieving ALARP compliance begins with adherence to established industry standards and best practices. This prescriptive basis serves as a minimum requirement, which must then be built upon by asking, "What more can be done?" Focusing on significant risk contributors helps prioritize efforts toward mitigating the most impactful risks.

Identifying and Evaluating Risks

The process starts with hazard identification, using tools like the Hazard Identification (HAZID) worksheet, followed by risk evaluation. This evaluation considers the likelihood and severity of potential harm, employing both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Subsequent steps involve identifying existing risk reduction measures and considering further actions to mitigate identified significant risks.

Decision-Making and the ALARP Triangle

Determining what is "reasonably practicable" involves weighing the level of risk against the sacrifice required to mitigate it. A landmark judgment, Edwards v. National Coal Board (1949), emphasizes that risk reduction measures must be implemented unless they require a sacrifice considered grossly disproportionate to the benefits.

The ALARP Triangle serves as a guideline, correlating individual risk per annum (IRPA) with required risk reduction measures to meet ALARP standards.

Cost-Benefit Analysis in ALARP

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) plays a critical role in ALARP decision-making, especially in complex or high-hazard scenarios. This analysis helps in making informed judgments about whether additional measures are worth the cost and effort, based on the principle of disproportionality between risk and sacrifice.

Tools and Techniques for Compliance

Various tools and techniques facilitate ALARP compliance, including risk assessment templates and software that provide structured approaches to identifying, evaluating, and mitigating hazards.

Compliance checklists tailored to specific regulatory standards help ensure adherence to ALARP principles, while training and certification programs for employees and managers build competence in risk management practices.


ALARP is a fundamental principle in risk management, guiding efforts to minimize workplace risks in a balanced and economically feasible manner. Understanding and applying ALARP involves a structured approach, from adherence to industry standards and thorough risk assessment to decision-making based on cost-benefit analysis.

While tools, techniques, and training play vital roles in ensuring compliance, the ultimate goal is to create safer work environments without imposing unreasonable burdens on organisations.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Synergen Oil and Gas UK, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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Synergen Oil and Gas UK

Synergen Oil and Gas UK

For more information from Synergen Oil and Gas UK, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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