2023 – Below the Tolerability Line and Beyond – A Practical Contemporary As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) Methodology for Dams

Nick Glover, Malcolm Barker

Considering the As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) principle for dam safety, as defined in ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk (2022), and other regulatory guidance, can be, like the risk analysis which feeds into the process, inherently subjective. Thus, it is necessary to develop a repeatable and defendable process to assess ALARP and to document considerations in forming these judgements.

In the past frameworks (such as Robilliard and Sih, 2015) have been developed, and over time the dam engineering industry’s understanding of ALARP has moved forward. In the Australian context, state Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) legislation has been implemented with consistency in regard to the So Far As Is Reasonably Practicable (SFAIRP) principle. Understanding of legal requirements of owners under statute and common law has progressed which has resulted in updated approaches to assessing ALARP/SFAIRP in the dams industry.
This paper provides an overview of some of the key elements in determining an ALARP risk position for dams in Australia, discussion on contemporary considerations for each element and an overall process and approach for analysis and documenting an ALARP justification.

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