The application of safety acceptance criteria (targets) to oil and gas production systems has often been discussed, in particular regarding their consistency with overall business objectives. In this paper, this question is addressed, and possible solutions proposed. It is concluded that acceptance criteria should be used with care. Such criteria may restrain sound innovation and judgement, and result in an unnecessarily expensive design. This is especially the case for safety acceptance criteria related to material assets and production, but there are many problems also associated with the implementation of safety acceptance criteria related to human life, health and environment.

This paper also discusses some important factors related to the quality of risk analyses. Risk analysis is the basis for using quantitative safety acceptance criteria; the quality of such analyses is therefore critical.

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