Hazard Identification

Process Safety Information flowchart

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Overview

Risk consists of four elements,

  1. A hazard;
  2. The consequences of that hazard (safety, environmental and economic);
  3. The likelihood of occurrence of that hazard; and
  4. Safeguards that reduce consequences or likelihood.

The relationship between the first of the above three terms is shown in Equation (1).

RiskHazard  =  Consequence  *  Predicted Frequency . . . . .  (1)

The first and most important step in any risk management program is to identify the hazards. Hazard analysis is the most important step in risk analysis because, unless hazards are identified, consequence and likelihood reduction cannot be implemented. In the context of process safety and operational integrity programs this usually means that a Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) must be conducted.
 
Not only is hazard identification the most important part of any risk analysis, removal of hazards is almost always the best way of reducing risk, and it is the only way in which risk can be reduced to zero. Reductions in the consequence and frequency terms — the second and third elements of Equation (1) — can only reduce risk; they cannot eliminate risk entirely.

Companies in the process industries habitually handle large quantities of toxic, flammable and explosive materials — often at high temperature and pressure. Such processes are inherently hazardous, and have the potential to cause loss-of life, serious injuries and severe pollution. Since these processes are often quite complex and sophisticated and have many recycle streams, it means that the identification of hazards is not an easy process. Therefore a wide range of PHA techniques has been developed and used over the years. The key to almost all of these techniques is that a team of experts analyzes the process in question to determine how major failures — often involving a very unlikely sequence of events — could occur.

A PHA is not concerned with occupational hazards such as trips, falls, and the use of lock-out/tag-out rules. Instead it focuses on process-related issues such as over-pressuring a vessel or damage caused by corrosion.

Effective hazards analyses go beyond the mere identification of hazards, however — they help create a frame of mind in which everyone is looking for hazards all the time, and then taking corrective action. For example, an operator working by himself at two o’clock in the morning may be about to open a valve, but before doing so he pauses for a moment, and says to himself:

"You know, opening this valve could lead to reverse flow, which could lead to wrong chemicals mixing with each other, and . . . you know what — before opening the valve, maybe I should take a break, make a cup of tea, and talk over what I’m planning to do with my colleagues and supervisor."

When an employee thinks and acts in this manner, the hazards analysis program is working very well indeed because it has become a part of the broader topics of culture and workforce involvement.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Hazards Management Process
   Step 1.  Identify the Hazards
      Creative / Imaginative Techniques
      Experience-Based
      Logical / Rational
   Step 2.  Risk Rank
   Step 3.  Eliminate or Substitute the Hazard
   Step 4.  Remove the People
   Step 5.  Reduce the Consequence
   Step 6.  Reduce the Likelihood
   Step 7.  Install Safeguards
Organization of a Hazards Analysis
   Charge / Scope Letter
      Objective
      Physical Scope
      Method(s) to be Used
      Assigned Personnel
      Risk Management Guidance
      Schedule and Reporting
   Abandoned Equipment
   Preparations 
   Logistics
   Meeting Protocol
   Location of the Meeting
   Projection of Notes 
   Documentation Requirements
   Security of the Information
   Time Required
   Kick-Off and Close-Out Meetings
HAZID / Major Hazards Screening 
The Team
   Leader / Facilitator 
      Process Knowledge 
      Stimulate Thinking
      Creative Thinking
      Casual Remarks
      “If we had unlimited money”
      Generalizations
      Team Management
      Knowledge of Actual Incidents
      Lawyer-Like Behavior
      Persona
      Personal Preparation
      Engineering Standards
   The Scribe 
   Operations / Maintenance Expert
   Process and Instrument Experts
   Specialists
   Use of Sophisticated Language
   The One-Minute Engineering Department
Results of the Analysis
   Findings
   Recommendations
   Action Items
   Risk Register
      Finding Number and Date 
      Hazard 
      Source
      Consequence(s) / Likelihood / Risk
      Follow-Up 
The Hazards Analysis Report
   Completeness of the Notes
   Cross-Reference
   Anonymity
      Findings Terminology
      Completeness
      ‘Non-Findings’
      Appearance 
      Pictures
   Report Distribution
   Communication with the Public
   Table of Contents
      1.  Disclaimer 
      2.  Executive Summary
      3.  Objectives of the Analysis
      4.  Summary of Findings
      5.  Method Used 
      6.  Risk Ranking 
      7.  The Team
      8.  Regulations and Standards
      9.  Attachments
      10.  Meeting Notes
   Development of the Report
      Step 1.  Notes Clean-Up
      Step 2.  Team Review
      Step 3.  Draft Report
      Step 4.  Client Review 
      Step 5.  Final Report
      Step 6.  Risk Register
   Legal Issues
      Need to Act on Findings
      Informal Notes
      Internal Communication
      PHA Leadership
Special Types of Hazards Analysis
   Temporary and Transient Operations 
   Non-Process Applications
   Decommissioning / Demolition
Overlooked Hazards
Revalidation Hazards Analyses
Benefits and Limitations of Hazard Analyses
   Strengths
      Providing Time to Think
      Challenging Conventional Thinking
      Cross-Discipline Communication
      Education
      Development of Technical Information
      Economic Payoff
   Limitations and Concerns
      Imprecision in Defining Terms
      Multiple Contingencies
      Complexities and Subtle Interactions
      Dynamic Conditions
      Knowledge of Safe Operating Limits
      Lack of Quantification
      Team Quality
      Personal Experience 
      Boredom
      TRIZ
      Confusion with Design Reviews
      False Confidence
      Equipment Orientation
      Interfaces
      Human Error
The Hazard and Operability Method (HAZOP)
   Step 1.  Node Selection and Purpose 
      Selection of Nodes 
      Pressure/Spec Breaks
   Step 2.  Process Guideword / Safe Limits
   Step 3.  Identification of Hazards and their Causes
   Step 4.  ‘Announcement’ of the Hazard
   Step 5.  Consequences
   Step 6.  Identification of Safeguards
   Step 7.  Predicted Frequency of Occurrence of the Hazard
   Step 8. Risk Rank
   Step 9.  Findings
   Step 10. Next Process Guideword / Node
   Effectiveness of HAZOPs
Checklists
   Checklist Categories and Guidewords 
   Structure of a Checklist 
The What-If Method 
   Node / Functional Area Review
   Equipment and Function Review
   Ignition Source Controls
   Instrumentation and Control Systems 
   Human Factors
   Process Upsets
   Siting
   Structured What-If
   Utility Systems 
   Batch Processes 
   Operating Procedures 
   Layout Reviews 
What-If / Checklist Method 
Failure Modes & Effects Analysis
Bow Tie Analysis
Indexing Methods
Interface Hazards Analysis
Software


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