Getting the full benefits of a HAZOP

A Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) is a well-known risk analysis technique. It can be applied in any industry, but is most widely used in the chemical, processing and energy industries. The method is based on a structured, multi-discipline approach in a workshop setting, where the design, operation or system in question is split into nodes (sub-systems), and a set of parameters and guidewords are used for identification and evaluation of hazards. A HAZOP can be applied for a variety of systems and activities, such as continuous or batch process systems, electrical systems, computer systems, modifications and procedures. This article focuses on the application of HAZOP for process systems in the energy industry.

A HAZOP is a powerful tool, which can give valuable input about process risks in the design or operational phase of a process facility. However, it is also evident that the outcome and success of the HAZOP correlates with the skills and experience of the facilitation team and participants. The facilitation team, consisting of a facilitator and scribe, is responsible for the efficiency, continuity, structure and quality of the HAZOP. Through human interaction, a HAZOP combines process safety knowledge, operational experience, and hazard identification expertise. Hence, it is important that the facilitation team is skilled and trained to obtain highest possible quality of the HAZOP, focusing on process safety theory, knowledge about the HAZOP methodology, and particularly workshop leadership skills to ensure that the expertise and experience of the participants is fully utilized in a constructive manner.  

Literature describing the HAZOP methodology is widely available, for instance through IEC 61882, “Hazard and Operability studies (HAZOP studies) Application Guide” (2001-05), and through articles and books (e.g. “HAZOP Guide to Best Practice”, 2nd ed. 2008, IChemE). This article presents experience-based advice on how to ensure optimal outcome of a HAZOP with regards to effectiveness and brainstorming.

The article will focus on the three phases of a HAZOP where the facilitation team are usually involved

  • The preparation phase

  • The workshop

  • The documentation and reporting phase

The article will not go into details regarding close-out and follow up of HAZOP actions. Read the full article

ORS Consulting does also offer up to date, high quality training and courses for facilitation of HAZOPs.