Written by CMSE Safety Consultant Jake Bumpus
According to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), a Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) Study is “a detailed method for systematic examination of a well-defined process or operation, either planned or existing.” Commonly accredited to Trevor Kletz while working as a Safety Manager at ICI, it is now a widely used Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) methodology across the process and chemical industries.
In order to undertake a HAZOP, a process or system is broken down into suitable sections, generally referred to as Nodes. An agreed list of Parameters (e.g. Flow, Temperature, Pressure etc.) and Guidewords (e.g No/None, Less, More etc.) are combined and systematically applied to each node, to identify potential Deviations (such as No Flow, More Pressure). For each credible Deviation, the potential causes, consequences, and risk are assessed, and the current controls which are in place are evaluated. If further controls are required, then actions are raised to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.
HAZOP Studies are always carried out by a team of people. 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 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 carry out the full HAZOP Process for our clients. CMSE Consultancy;
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