See The Role of Inherently Safer Design Concepts in Process Risk Management for more information related to Consideration for Inherently Safer Process Options.
The search for inherently safer process options must begin early in the process life cycle, and never stop. The greatest potential opportunities for impacting process design occur early in the invention and development of processes. As stated by the National Research Council, "Few basic decisions affect the hazard potential of a facility more than the initial choice of technology." Early in development there is a great deal of freedom in the selection of chemistry, solvents, raw materials, process intermediates, unit operations, facility location, and other process parameters. As the process moves through its life cycle, it becomes more difficult and expensive to change the basic process.
It is never too late to consider inherently safer alternatives. Major enhancements to the inherent safety of facilities which have been operating for many years have been reported over the years for lessons learning. Below table is a summary of some of the key questions that should be asked at various stages in the development of a facility design.