HAZOP stands for HAZard and OPerability Study and is a very popular Risk Assessment technique that was first started in the ICI company (Imperial Chemical Industries, UK). ICI no longer exists today in its original avatar, but in the form of several new companies, who took over the ICI plants, made new ones, etc, etc. Change always happens in industry and this was no exception. The technique however has grown much beyond ICI and has become the de-facto Risk Assessment technique used by almost all stakeholders in the process industry- be it end users such as plant owner/operators, or engineering design consultants or safety professionals or government regulatory bodies and authorities. The common question asked before you talk of a new plant design, or a modification, or even a shutdown/de-commissioning is “Have you HAZOPed it?”
To understand some basics about this versatile and ubiquitous tool, we have made a small PPT here that you can download and share freely. Click on the link below to view /download the document.
But be well aware that this is not the only risk assessment technique used in industry, although it is the most popular. There are several other methods, which are not included in the ppt. If one were to explain how it works in short, is this. Let us assume that we want to conduct such a study for an oil refinery’s crude distillation unit, that will undergo a modification. Note that although the current design (which is working) is OK, any modification automatically implies that the modified design must be subject to such a Hazard and Operability Study, to ensure that the unit, after the modifications, continues to remain safe and easily operable.
A team comprising of the manager of the plant, the safety engineer of the unit/refinery and other disciplinary engineers such as those from the Mechanical, Control & Instrument, Electrical, Process and Piping, as also some unit operators and their supervisors would be participants. One of them, who has sufficient experience in the technique, is designated the Leader and another one who agrees to document the entire study is designated as the Scribe or Secretary.
The group then breaks down the part of the unit that is to be modified, into smaller chunks of equipment, called as nodes. Then every node is analysed separately as below.
The team then parses a set of agreed upon Guide Words, carefully going step by step to see what deviations could result and whether they could cause any mishaps or maloperation. If such a possibility is found, then a mitigative (corrective) action is also recommended.All of this gets documented by the Scribe, either using a Spreadsheet template in Excel (you will find several such sheets in the e-learning course below) OR he/she can use a Documentation software. Note that the software will not generate the study on its own, but will only help you in documenting the findings in a structured way, so that any recommendations can be routed to the respective department. Recommendations may be as mundane as adding an alarm to the display or as complex as building a new piece of equipment altogether, such as scrubber. Typically it may mean modifying the alarms and interlocks of the existing unit, or adding some new instruments such as gas detectors or pressure switches.
The above is of course only a short description of how the technique works, the ppt gives more information, but if you really want to be a pro in the technique then you must ne formally trained in it. What better way to train yourself than by downloading the unique e-learning course below? Don’t let the word course cause withdrawal symptoms! It is a program that has text, animations and simulations, videos and a case study, alongwith a self assessment test that helps you become a master in the subject.
So what are you waiting for?
In order to learn all about it and to get Certified (after taking an exam) please get this e-learning course today from any of the options below
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