University Of Tasmania

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Operational risk assessment: A case of the Bhopal disaster

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 10:35 authored by Yang, M, Faisal KhanFaisal Khan, Amyotte, P
Accidental releases of hazardous chemicals from process facilities can cause catastrophic consequences. The Bhopal disaster resulting from a combination of inherently unsafe designs and poorly managed operations is a well-known case. Effective risk modeling approaches that provide early warnings are helpful to prevent and control such rare but catastrophic events. Probability estimation of these events is a constant challenge due to the scarcity of directly relevant data. Therefore, precursor-based methods that adopt the Bayesian theorem to update prior judgments on event probabilities using empirical data have been proposed. The updated probabilities are then integrated with consequences of varying severity to produce the risk profile. This paper proposes an operational risk assessment framework, in which a precursor-based Bayesian network approach is used for probability estimation, and loss functions are applied for consequence assessment. The estimated risk profile can be updated continuously given real-time operational data. As process facilities operate, this method integrates a failure-updating mechanism with potential consequences to generate a real-time operational risk profile. The real time risk profile is valuable in activating accident prevention and control strategies. The approach is applied to the Bhopal accident to demonstrate its applicability and effectiveness.


Publication title

Process Safety and Environmental Protection








Australian Maritime College


Elsevier Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2015 The Institution of Chemical Engineers

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in engineering