Cost-effective maintenance of safety and security barriers in the chemical process industries via genetic algorithm

Shuaiqi Yuan*, Genserik Reniers, Ming Yang, Yiping Bai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Chemical plants face safety hazards and security threats that may induce catastrophic scenarios. Safety and security barriers are employed widely to protect chemical plants from accidental and intentional undesired events and mitigate consequences. Managing safety and security barriers effectively and economically is a research topic with practical significance. The analysis of undesired event scenarios, including both accidental and intentional adverse scenarios, and assessing associated safety and security barriers are critical regarding cost-efficient barrier maintenance. This study proposes a novel approach for optimizing safety and security barrier maintenance strategy considering economic constraints. This approach consists of three steps: scenario building and barrier identification, barrier modeling, and determining optimal barrier maintenance intervals. In the proposed approach, accident scenarios in terms of safety and physical security are constructed using the extended bow-tie diagrams. After associated safety and security barriers are identified, a system simulation model is developed to conduct barrier modeling based on MATLAB/Simulink simulations, in which the barrier maintenance, the impacts of human and organizational barriers, and the correlations between barriers caused by shared components are considered. Finally, a combination of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and genetic algorithm (GA) is employed to support the decision-making on barrier maintenance optimization. An illustrative case is employed in this study to validate the feasibility of the proposed approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-371
Number of pages16
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Barrier maintenance
  • Barrier modeling
  • Chemical industry
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Genetic algorithm
  • Integration of safety and security


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