Safety planning should be an integral part of the design and operation of a system. Safety approvals should not be after thoughts or final hurdles to be overcome before a system can become operational. Initial safety approvals are just that, initial. Safety can only be assured if participants are vigilant in the maintenance of safety.

Safe practices in the production, storage, distribution, and use of hydrogen are essential to protect people from injury or death. These practices are also necessary to minimize damage to facilities. A catastrophic failure in any hydrogen project could negatively impact the public's perception of hydrogen systems as viable, safe, and clean alternatives to conventional energy systems, and could reduce the ability of hydrogen technologies to obtain insurance, a necessary step in commercialization of any technology.

The goals of Safety Planning are to identify hazards, evaluate risks by considering the likelihood and severity/consequence of an incident associated with the hazards, and to minimize the risks associated with a project. To achieve these goals, various hazard analysis and risk assessment techniques are used, in conjunction with safety reviews.

Checklists can be valuable tools for developing a comprehensive safety plan and for designing and safely operating hydrogen systems. Safety checklists take many forms and can be used for several purposes. For example, the Safety Plan Checklist in "Safety Planning Guidance for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Projects" summarizes the key elements of a good safety plan and the checklist can be a valuable tool over the life of a project.

Another example of a checklist is one developed by the Hydrogen Safety Panel. This checklist focuses on considering all aspects of an outdoor hydrogen supply system that provides for an indoor use of hydrogen. The Hydrogen Safety Checklist utilizes a table of critical safety measures to identify considerations necessary to ensure a safe installation. As well, the general principles in the checklist apply to all types and sizes of hydrogen systems.