HAZOP Studies

Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) Studies

The guideword Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) technique is a means of systematically evaluating a process to identify potential hazards and operability problems resulting from credible deviations from design intent. As applicable, recommendations are developed during the study to reduce or eliminate the likelihood or severity of the hazards. HAZOP is recognized as an acceptable process hazard analysis method by OSHA Process Safety Management (29 CFR §1910.119[e]), and EPA Risk Management Program (40 CFR Part 68) regulations, and is preferable for all but simple processes as it is a highly structured technique.

The objectives of a HAZOP Study are:

  • To identify deviations from the design intent of the system
  • To determine the safety concerns associated with the identified deviations
  • To suggest considerations to mitigate the safety concerns identified
  • To present the results and considerations

The guideword HAZOP technique is based on the premise that hazards and operability problems originate from deviations from design intent when a process is running under normal operating conditions. For example, adding the guideword “NO” to the parameter “FLOW” to get the deviation “NO FLOW” would prompt the leader to ask the Team, “What causes could result in no flow in this node or line segment?” The potential hazard scenarios that include possible “Causes” and potential “Consequences” are documented in the report worksheets. The possible “Safeguards” in place to reduce the risk associated with the specific cause/consequence scenario are then discussed and documented. For scenarios involving significant potential risk, “Recommendations” are documented if the Team believes they may further reduce risk or improve operability.

The HAZOP Study proceeds sequentially, studying each piece of equipment contained in the process. The systems are partitioned into “nodes,” which are composed of one or more pieces of equipment where there is a distinct intention for process parameters (for example, a specific intended temperature, pressure, or flow rate).

Risk Management Professionals’ Engineering Team is highly experienced in facilitating HAZOP Studies for processes ranging from multi-unit design projects to small systems. Our engineers have broad process knowledge which provides efficient and cost-effective application of these risk analysis techniques for our clients.