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Tips to reduce risks to ALARP

diagram showing alarp region_398x343

diagram showing alarp region_398x343


ALARP, short for as low as reasonably practicable, describes the level to which we expect to see workplace risks controlled. The “ALARP region” lies between the intolerable risk levels and broadly acceptable risk levels. Even if a level of risk for a case has been judged to be in this ALARP region, it is still necessary to consider introducing further risk reduction measures to lower the remaining risks.

The ALARP guideline is flexible and the duty-holder generally use these 2 methods to determine whether a risk is ALARP. Depending on the complexity and novelty of the case, duty-holders either decide by good practice or by ‘first principles’.


  • Deciding by good practice

According to the general ALARP guidance, good practice is defined as “those standards for controlling risk that HSE has judged and recognised as satisfying the law, when applied to a particular relevant case, in an appropriate manner.” Standards are agreed through discussions held with stakeholders, such as employers, trade associations, other Government departments, trade unions, health and safety professionals and suppliers.

Duty-holders are required to discuss and confirm that good practice provides the necessary guidelines to make the risk ALARP. If the duty-holder decides to do an alternative method, they can do so as long as they are able to prove that measures proposed are effective to lower risks.


  • Deciding on ‘first principles’

For complex situations, depending on good practice only is not enough. Some cases have no precedence and some cases require additional measures to reduce the risk to ALARP.  The duty-holder to their best ability must confirm and compare the risk with the sacrifice involved in further reducing it, also known as “first principles”. This comparison can be done qualitatively, i.e. by applying common sense and/or exercising professional judgment or experience.

Often in high hazard industries or where there is a new technology with potentially serious consequences, the situation is less clear-cut. In such cases, a more detailed comparison has to be undertaken. Hence, a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) may provide additional insight to help come to a decision.


In Singapore, all MHIs (Major Hazard Installation) are required to develop its Safety Case, and demonstrate the case to MHD (Major Hazard Department) that their strategy for managing safety is satisfactory through ALARP principle.


This strategy is presented in a set of documents that include:-

  • Hazard Identification Process
  • Identification of hazards with the potential to cause major accidents
  • Evaluation of major accident risks
  • System/procedures that will be put in place to control them
  • Measures to limit major accident consequences
  • ALARP methodology


Useful Links


ALARP Principles & Guidelines is a 2-day training course held from 24 – 25 Sep 2018 (Kuala Lumpur) and 8 – 9 Oct 2018 (Singapore) designed for delegates to gain the key concepts of ALARP principles and the fundamental approaches for its applications. The course will cover the HSE principles for Cost Benefit Analyses (CBA) in support of ALARP decisions and understand the approaches to good practice and to demonstrate ALARP using different decision making criteria. For more information, please visit us at or contact us at


Interested to read more articles about ALARP?  Check out Understand Safety Case Regime Singapore


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