After the Review and Walkdown, the current situation is incorporated into a Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP study). This is a systematic and structured method for identifying potential hazards and risks that can occur in a processing plant. The aim of a HAZOP study is to improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the installation. We do this by identifying possible hazards and risks and taking appropriate measures to control or eliminate them.
A HAZOP study is conducted by a multidisciplinary team of experts, including process engineers, safety specialists, and operators. The process involves systematically going through each part of the production process using a structured checklist. During this assessment, the process steps, equipment, materials, human factors, and environmental variables are examined.
A HAZOP team identifies potential hazards and risks by asking ‘what if’ questions. Think of questions like:
- What if there is a power supply failure?
- What if the valve gets stuck?
- What if a human error occurs?
For each risk, the likelihood and impact are assessed, as well as the effectiveness of existing control measures.
Based on the results of the HAZOP study, recommendations are made for further actions with the goal of improving the safety and reliability of the production process. This may, for example, involve adjusting safety measures or implementing additional training or instruction programs for operators.
A HAZOP study is an important part of process safety and is often conducted during the development of new plants. However, it also takes place when assessing existing plants. Additionally, it can be periodically repeated to continuously improve the safety and reliability of a plant.