This paper discusses a methodology for the design of an optimum inspection and maintenance program. The methodology, called risk-based maintenance (RBM) is based on integrating a reliability approach and a risk assessment strategy to obtain an optimum maintenance schedule. First, the likely equipment failure scenarios are formulated. Out of many likely failure scenarios, the ones, which are most probable, are subjected to a detailed study. Detailed consequence analysis is done for the selected scenarios. Subsequently, these failure scenarios are subjected to a fault tree analysis to determine their probabilities. Finally, risk is computed by combining the results of the consequence and the probability analyses. The calculated risk is compared against known acceptable criteria. The frequencies of the maintenance tasks are obtained by minimizing the estimated risk. A case study involving an ethylene oxide production facility is presented. Out of the five most hazardous units considered, the pipeline used for the transportation of the ethylene is found to have the highest risk. Using available failure data and a lognormal reliability distribution function human health risk factors are calculated. Both societal risk factors and individual risk factors exceeded the acceptable risk criteria. To determine an optimal maintenance interval, a reverse fault tree analysis was used. The maintenance interval was determined such that the original high risk is brought down to an acceptable level. A sensitivity analysis is also undertaken to study the impact of changing the distribution of the reliability model as well as the error in the distribution parameters on the maintenance interval.