Accident Epidemiology and the U.S. Chemical Industry: Accident History and Worst-Case Data from RMP*Info

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Kleindorfer, Paul R., James C. Belke, Michael R. Elliott, Kiwan Lee, Robert A. Lowe, and Harold I. Feldman. 2003. "Accident Epidemiology and the U.S. Chemical Industry: Accident History and Worst-Case Data from RMP*Info." Risk Analysis, 23(5): 865-881.

This article reports on the data collected on one of the most ambitious government-sponsored environmental data acquisition projects of all time, the Risk Management Plan (RMP) data collected under section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. This RMP Rule 112(r) was triggered by the Bhopal accident in 1984 and led to the requirement that each qualifying facility develop and file with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a Risk Management Plan (RMP) as well as accident history data for the five-year period preceding the filing of the RMP. These data were collected in 1999-2001 on more than 15,000 facilities in the United States that store or use listed toxic or flammable chemicals believed to be a hazard to the environment or to human health of facility employees or off-site residents of host communities. The resulting database, RMPInfo, has become a key resource for regulators and researchers concerned with the frequency and severity of accidents, and the underlying facility-specific factors that are statistically associated with accident and injury rates. This article analyzes which facilities actually filed under the Rule and presents results on accident frequencies and severities available from the RMPInfo database. This article also presents summaries of related results from RMPInfo on Offsite Consequence Analysis (OCA), an analytical estimate of the potential consequences of hypothetical worst-case and alternative accidental releases on the public and environment around the facility. The OCA data have become a key input in the evaluation of site security assessment and mitigation policies for both government planners as well as facility managers and their insurers. Following the survey of the RMPInfo data, we discuss the rich set of policy decisions that may be informed by research based on these data.

10.1111/1539-6924.00365

Keywords:
Accident epidemiology chemical accident history Clean Air Act risk management

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