Author: Jake Bumpus, Process Safety Engineer at Chris Mee Group
A Hazard & Operability study is a technique for identifying process safety hazards. It was originally developed in the 1960s by the UK chemical company ICI. Since then, it has continued to be developed and is now one of the most widely used hazard identification techniques used across many industries including Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Oil & Gas and Nuclear. They are also frequently used in Dairy, Distilling, and Wastewater Treatment.
As the name suggests, as well as being a technique for identifying hazards (i.e. aspects of a system with the potential to cause harm), it can also be used to tease out potential operational issues that may arise.
It is a structured approach which breaks down complex systems into discrete chunks (usually referred to as ‘nodes’). A team of people meet to apply a set of guidewords in combination with system parameters to each node, in order to seek deviations from the design intention.
For example, if considering a node concerning a solvent storage vessel, the team might consider the parameter ‘pressure’ with the guide word ‘high’. They would then look to see what could cause the solvent vessel tank to become over-pressurised, what the consequence of this may be, and what control measures have been or could be implemented to prevent this deviation occurring.
A HAZOP team generally has a chairperson/study leader to guide the discussions, a secretary/scribe to formally record the discussions, as well as number of team members such as engineers, managers, operators, safety representatives and other specialists.
As a technique, HAZOPs are extremely flexible and can therefore be tailored to be used to identify hazards and operability issues in a wide range of processes and industries, as well as for processes at different stages of their life cycle:
The key advantage of carrying out a HAZOP study is that it is a structured and systematic approach to hazard identification. It is recognised across many industries as being best practise, if carried out by competent persons and supported by good quality information.
As they are a team-based activity, they allow different stakeholders to interact and discuss the process, and the HAZOP study is often the first place where they have the opportunity to do this in detail, face-to-face.
Although very structured, it can also be a creative process, allowing hazards to be identified which would have otherwise not been thought about.
There a number of common pitfalls associated with HAZOP studies, which require the advice of experienced and competent HAZOP chairs and team members to avoid:
CMSE Consultancy Process Safety consultants can carry out the overall HAZOP process for our clients.
If you want to succeed at your interview you must be confident. To be confident one must be prepared!
“Why do you want to work with our company?”
Doing research ahead of your interview will not only give you insight into the culture of you potential new workplace but it will demonstrate clearly that you have a great interest in the role as well as the organization.
Here are 4 simple ways to research your potential new workplace;
Here at CMSE Recruitment, we provide free office, phone or video call pre-interview tutoring and prepping for all of our Candidates.
The new Radiological Protection Act 1991 (Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2019 (S.I. No. 30 of 2019), were signed into law on February 5th, 2019 and replace S.I. No 125 of 2000. The new Regulations introduce several important changes to the way in which the use of ionising radiation is regulated in Ireland. Some of the changes relate to fee arrangements, responsibilities, licencing and are particularly relevant to specialist workplaces such as hospitals and manufacturing sites. All employers, however, should be aware of the requirements in relation to radon in the workplace.
The population of Ireland is exposed to radiation from a variety of sources, both present naturally in the environment or produced artificially by man. The biggest proportion of the exposure to radiation comes from natural sources, particularly radon. Other natural sources include cosmic radiation from outer space, radioactivity in the food and water we eat and drink and radiation from the ground. The beneficial use of radiation in medicine is the principal source of artificial radiation to which the people are exposed i.e. diagnostic X-rays, radiotherapy, etc.
General Changes in the Regulations
Responsibility for the protection of both public and employees from radiation will remain with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, responsibility for patient protection will switch to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) from the Medical Exposure Radiation Unit (MERU) in the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The Regulations introduce a reduced dose limit for occupational exposure to the lens of the eye. The new limit on the equivalent dose for the lens of the eye is 20 mSv in a single year or 100 mSv in any five consecutive years subject to a maximum dose of 50 mSv in a single year. The EPA will issue some guidance in the future in relation to acceptable measurement protocols for the measurement of eye dose.
The new Regulations strengthen arrangements for outside workers by changing the definition of an “outside worker” to mean “any exposed worker who is not employed by the undertaking responsible for the supervised and controlled areas, but performs activities in those areas, including apprentices and students”. Currently only category ‘A’ workers not employed by the undertaking are considered outside workers. A greater number of exposed workers will now likely fall within the definition of ‘outside worker’.
The new Regulations set out a more defined role for Radiation Protection Officers (RPO). The RPO must be an individual or unit reporting directly to the undertaking with operational responsibility for radiation protection. The new Regulations replace the current requirement to appoint a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) with a requirement to consult with an RPA in specified situations.
The new Regulation no longer permit the deliberate dilution of radioactive materials for the purpose of them being released from regulatory control. The mixing of materials that takes place in normal operations, where radioactivity is not a consideration, is not subject to this prohibition.
Radon Related Changes
Radon is a radioactive gas which is produced in the ground from the uranium present in small quantities in all rocks and soils. You cannot smell, see or taste radon but it constitutes the greatest health risk from radiation in Ireland. It accounts for 56% of the total radiation dose received by the Irish population. Approximately 300 cases of lung cancer in Ireland every year can be linked to radon. Modern building standards address radon with engineering controls, so older buildings should generally be of greater concern. However, the only sure way of knowing whether a particular building is at risk is to have it tested.
These new Regulations require all employers in high radon areas to test their workplaces for the cancer causing, radioactive gas radon. Where levels are above the new lower national reference level of 300 Becquerel/m3 (previously 400 Becquerel/m3) employers are required to carry out work to reduce these levels. Regulation 66, 2(b)) reinforces the requirement for employers, whose workplaces are in known areas of high risk of exposure to radon, to carry out measurement as a formal part of the risk assessment. Areas of high risk are indicated in the EPA radon map which can be found on their website (see Figure 1 and available at: https://www.epa.ie/radiation/radonmap/).
It has always been a duty of employers under the 2005 Act, to identify hazards in the workplace and carry out a risk assessment, and the HSA always had the expectation that measurement would be undertaken in high risk areas. (Note however only those workplaces or work areas with an occupancy of above 100 hours per year need be measured).
Employers will need to review their property portfolio against the EPA Radon map of the country and initiate a programme of testing of premises in high risk areas. Other factors may reduce the risk to employees significantly even if radon present such as how long persons are in the potentially exposed areas, but, if thresholds are exceeded, then remedial works/engineering controls must be put in place at the very least. Following the review of known high risk areas a review of other premises where the nature of the building may raise the exposure risk should be conducted i.e. where people work in basement levels.
Figure 1 Radon Map of Ireland (source: EPA)
If you require more information or have any questions about the Ionising Radiation Regulations, please do not hesitate to contact us or fill out the below enquiry form.
Performing Repetitive Tasks
Performing the same repetitive motions without taking rest periods will put you at risk of an musculoskeletal disorder. Though most common for those working in physical roles such as in manufacturing, performing repetitive tasks on a computer can also cause MSD’s.
Hint: To prevent these injuries, take regular breaks & Introduce variety in your workflow.
Working in an Awkward Position
Over Reaching, leaning, repetitive twisting, kneeling, these are just some of the awkward positions that can put significant stress on your body.
Exerting Excessive Force
Pushing or pulling of heavy or awkward loads, lifting heavy objects – these activities could all exert excessive force.
Here at CMSE Recruitment we have an ever increasing number of available contractor roles. These Environmental, Health and Safety roles are distributed across Ireland and in a vast range of industries.
Here are the CMSE Recruitment teams 3 Top CMSE Recruitment Tips for Contractors!
While your wedding and holidays pictures definitely depict you at your most happy and confident self, they don’t have much to do with your professional career. LinkedIn is not Facebook, so keep the family photos for friends and take a good quality headshot against a white background in the office to represent your professional career.
It can be a red flag for hiring managers when they see you’ve had consecutive short term roles (under 1 year) in your employment history, especially if they can’t see any obvious reason for it. This can be easily avoided if you mention with each job that it was a fixed term contract (6-month contract etc., or a maternity cover contract for 9 months).
Avoid getting endless agencies reach out to you with the wrong jobs by simply updating your status or ‘About’ section with the kind of work you are looking for. “Current contract ending in October, looking for a new 6-12 month contract in the Munster region starting in December”
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