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HAZARD & OPERABILITY STUDIES (1 of 2)

Mike Lihou - Lihou Technical & Software Services

INTRODUCTION
The technique of Hazard and Operability Studies, or in more common terms HAZOPS,
has been used and developed over approximately four decades for 'identifying potential
hazards and operability problems' caused by 'deviations from the design intent' of both
new and existing process plants. Before progressing further, it might be as well to clarify
some aspects of these statements.

Potential Hazard AND Operability Problems


You will note the capitalised 'AND' in the heading above. Because of the high profile of
production plant accidents, emphasis is too often placed upon the identification of
hazards to the neglect of potential operability problems. Yet it is in the latter area that
benefits of a Hazop Study are usually the greatest. To quote an example, a study was
commissioned for a new plant. Some two years previously, and for the first time, a
similar study had been carried out on different plant at the same site which was then in
the process of being designed. Before the latest review commenced, the Production
Manager expressed the hope that the same benefits would accrue as before, stating that
"in his twenty years of experience, never had a new plant been commissioned with so few
problems, and no other plant had ever achieved its production targets and break-even
position in so short a time".
Deviation from design intent
To deal firstly with 'design intent', all industrial plant is designed with an overall purpose
in mind. It may be to produce a certain tonnage per year of a particular chemical, to
manufacture a specified number of cars, to process and dispose of a certain volume of
effluent per annum, etc. That could be said to be the main design intent of the plant, but
in the vast majority of cases it would also be understood that an important subsidiary
intent would be to conduct the operation in the safest and most efficient manner possible.
With this in mind equipment is designed and constructed which, when it is all assembled
and working together, will achieve the desired goals. However, in order to do so, each
item of equipment, each pump and length of pipework, will need to consistently function
in a particular manner. It is this manner which could be classified as the 'design intent'
for that particular item. To illustrate, imagine that as part of the overall production
requirement we needed a cooling water facility. For this we would almost certainly have

cooling water circuit pipework in which would be installed a pump as very roughly
illustrated below.

A much simplified statement as to the design intent of this small section of the plant
would be "to continuously circulate cooling water at an initial temperature of xC and at a
rate of xxx litres per hour". It is usually at this low level of design intent that a Hazop
Study is directed. The use of the word 'deviation' now becomes more easy to understand.
A deviation or departure from the design intent in the case of our cooling facility would
be a cessation of circulation, or the water being at too high an initial temperature. Note
the difference between a deviation and its cause. In the case above, failure of the pump
would be a cause, not a deviation.

Industries in which the technique is employed


Hazops were initially 'invented' by ICI in the United Kingdom, but the technique only
started to be more widely used within the chemical process industry after the Flixborough
disaster in 1974. This chemical plant explosion killed twenty eight people and injured
scores of others, many of those being members of the public living nearby. Through the
general exchange of ideas and personnel, the system was then adopted by the petroleum
industry, which has a similar potential for major disasters. This was then followed by the
food and water industries, where the hazard potential is as great, but of a different nature,
the concerns being more to do with contamination rather than explosions or chemical
releases.

The reasons for such widespread use of Hazops


Safety and reliability in the design of plant initially relies upon the application of various
codes of practise, or design codes and standards. These represent the accumulation of
knowledge and experience of both individual experts and the industry as a whole. Such
application is usually backed up by the experience of the engineers involved, who might
well have been previously concerned with the design, commissioning or operation of
similar plant.

However, it is considered that although codes of practise are extremely valuable, it is


important to supplement them with an imaginative anticipation of deviations which might
occur because of, for example, equipment malfunction or operator error. In addition,
most companies will admit to the fact that for a new plant, design personnel are under
pressure to keep the project on schedule. This pressure always results in errors and
oversights. The Hazop Study is an opportunity to correct these before such changes
become too expensive, or 'impossible' to accomplish.
Although no statistics are available to verify the claim, it is believed that the Hazop
methodology is perhaps the most widely used aid to loss prevention. The reason for this
can most probably be summarised as follows:

It is easy to learn.
It can be easily adapted to almost all the operations that are carried out within
process industries.
No special level of academic qualification is required. One does not need to be a
university graduate to participate in a study.

THE BASIC CONCEPT


Essentially the Hazops procedure involves taking a full description of a process and
systematically questioning every part of it to establish how deviations from the design
intent can arise. Once identified, an assessment is made as to whether such deviations
and their consequences can have a negative effect upon the safe and efficient operation of
the plant. If considered necessary, action is then taken to remedy the situation.
This critical analysis is applied in a structured way by the Hazop team, and it relies upon
them releasing their imagination in an effort to discover credible causes of deviations. In
practice, many of the causes will be fairly obvious, such as pump failure causing a loss of
circulation in the cooling water facility mentioned above. However, the great advantage
of the technique is that it encourages the team to consider other less obvious ways in
which a deviation may occur, however unlikely they may seem at first consideration. In
this way the study becomes much more than a mechanistic check-list type of review. The
result is that there is a good chance that potential failures and problems will be identified
which had not previously been experienced in the type of plant being studied.

Keywords
An essential feature in this process of questioning and systematic analysis is the use of
keywords to focus the attention of the team upon deviations and their possible causes.
These keywords are divided into two sub-sets:

Primary Keywords which focus attention upon a particular aspect of the design
intent or an associated process condition or parameter.
Secondary Keywords which, when combined with a primary keyword, suggest
possible deviations.

The entire technique of Hazops revolves around the effective use of these keywords, so
their meaning and use must be clearly understood by the team. Examples of often used
keywords are listed below.
Primary Keywords
These reflect both the process design intent and operational aspects of the plant being
studied. Typical process oriented words might be as follows. The list below is purely
illustrative, as the words employed in a review will depend upon the plant being studied.
Flow

Temperature

Pressure

Level

Separate (settle, filter,


centrifuge)

Composition

React

Mix

Reduce (grind, crush, etc.)

Absorb

Corrode

Erode

Note that some words may be included which appear at first glance to be completely
unrelated to any reasonable interpretation of the design intent of a process. For example,
one may question the use of the word Corrode, on the assumption that no one would
intend that corrosion should occur. Bear in mind, however, that most plant is designed
with a certain life span in mind, and implicit in the design intent is that corrosion should
not occur, or if it is expected, it should not exceed a certain rate. An increased corrosion
rate in such circumstances would be a deviation from the design intent.
Remembering that the technique is called Hazard & Operability Studies, added to the
above might be relevant operational words such as:
Isolate

Drain

Vent

Purge

Inspect

Maintain

Start-up

Shutdown

This latter type of Primary Keyword is sometimes either overlooked or given secondary
importance. This can result in the plant operator having, for example, to devise

impromptu and sometimes hazardous means of taking a non-essential item of equipment


off-line for running repairs because no secure means of isolation has been provided.
Alternatively, it may be discovered that it is necessary to shut down the entire plant just
to re-calibrate or replace a pressure gauge. Or perhaps during commissioning it is found
that the plant cannot be brought on-stream because no provision for safe manual override
of the safety system trips has been provided.
Secondary Keywords
As mentioned above, when applied in conjunction with a Primary Keyword, these
suggest potential deviations or problems. They tend to be a standard set as listed below:
Word

Meaning

No

The design intent does not occur (e.g. Flow/No), or


the operational aspect is not achievable (Isolate/No)

Less

A quantitative decrease in the design intent occurs


(e.g. Pressure/Less)

More

A quantitative increase in the design intent occurs


(e.g. Temperature/More)

Reverse

The opposite of the design intent occurs (e.g.


Flow/Reverse)

Also

The design intent is completely fulfilled, but in


addition some other related activity occurs (e.g.
Flow/Also indicating contamination in a product
stream, or Level/Also meaning material in a tank or
vessel which should not be there)

Other

The activity occurs, but not in the way intended (e.g.


Flow/Other could indicate a leak or product flowing
where it should not, or Composition/Other might
suggest unexpected proportions in a feedstock)

Fluctuation

The design intention is achieved only part of the


time (e.g. an air-lock in a pipeline might result in
Flow/Fluctuation)

Early

Usually used when studying sequential operations,


this would indicate that a step is started at the wrong
time or done out of sequence

Late

As for Early

It should be noted that not all combinations of Primary/Secondary words are appropriate.
For example, Temperature/No (absolute zero or -273C !) or Pressure/Reverse could be
considered as meaningless.

HAZOP STUDY METHODOLOGY


In simple terms, the Hazop study process involves applying in a systematic way all
relevant keyword combinations to the plant in question in an effort to uncover potential
problems. The results are recorded in columnar format under the following headings:
DEVIATION

CAUSE

CONSEQUENCE

SAFEGUARDS

ACTION

In considering the information to be recorded in each of these columns, it may be helpful


to take as an example the simple schematic below. Note that this is purely
representational, and not intended to illustrate an actual system.

Deviation
The keyword combination being applied (e.g. Flow/No).
Cause
Potential causes which would result in the deviation occurring. (e.g. "Strainer S1
blockage due to impurities in Dosing Tank T1" might be a cause of Flow/No).
Consequence
The consequences which would arise, both from the effect of the deviation (e.g. "Loss of
dosing results in incomplete separation in V1") and, if appropriate, from the cause itself
(e.g. "Cavitation in Pump P1, with possible damage if prolonged").
Always be explicit in recording the consequences. Do not assume that the reader at some
later date will be fully aware of the significance of a statement such as "No dosing
chemical to Mixer". It is much better to add the explanation as set out above.
When assessing the consequences, one should not take any credit for protective systems
or instruments which are already included in the design. For example, suppose the team
had identified a cause of Flow/No (in a system which has nothing to do with the one
illustrated above) as being spurious closure of an actuated valve. It is noticed that there is
valve position indication within the Central Control Room, with a software alarm on
spurious closure. They may be tempted to curtail consideration of the problem

immediately, recording something to the effect of "Minimal consequences, alarm would


allow operator to take immediate remedial action". However, had they investigated
further they might have found that the result of that spurious valve closure would be over
pressure of an upstream system, leading to a loss of containment and risk of fire if the
cause is not rectified within three minutes. It only then becomes apparent how
inadequate is the protection afforded by this software alarm.
Safeguards
Any existing protective devices which either prevent the cause or safeguard against the
adverse consequences would be recorded in this column. For example, you may consider
recording "Local pressure gauge in discharge from pump might indicate problem was
arising". Note that safeguards need not be restricted to hardware where appropriate,
credit can be taken for procedural aspects such as regular plant inspections (if you are
sure that they will actually be carried out!).
Action
Where a credible cause results in a negative consequence, it must be decided whether
some action should be taken. It is at this stage that consequences and associated
safeguards are considered. If it is deemed that the protective measures are adequate, then
no action need be taken, and words to that effect are recorded in the Action column.
Actions fall into two groups:
1. Actions that remove the cause.
2. Actions that mitigate or eliminate the consequences.
Whereas the former is to be preferred, it is not always possible, especially when dealing
with equipment malfunction. However, always investigate removing the cause first, and
only where necessary mitigate the consequences. For example, to return to the "Strainer
S1 blockage due to impurities etc." entry referred to above, we might approach the
problem in a number of ways:

Ensure that impurities cannot get into T1 by fitting a strainer in the road tanker
offloading line.
Consider carefully whether a strainer is required in the suction to the pump. Will
particulate matter pass through the pump without causing any damage, and is it
necessary to ensure that no such matter gets into V1. If we can dispense with the
strainer altogether, we have removed the cause of the problem.
Fit a differential pressure gauge across the strainer, with perhaps a high dP alarm
to give clear indication that a total blockage is imminent.
Fit a duplex strainer, with a regular schedule of changeover and cleaning of the
standby unit.

Three notes of caution need to be borne in mind when formulating actions. Do not
automatically opt for an engineered solution, adding additional instrumentation, alarms,
trips, etc. Due regard must be taken of the reliability of such devices, and their potential

for spurious operation causing unnecessary plant down-time. In addition, the increased
operational cost in terms of maintenance, regular calibration, etc. should also be
considered (the lifetime cost of a simple instrument will be at least twice its purchase
price for more complex instrumentation this figure will be significantly greater). It is
not unknown for an over-engineered solution to be less reliable than the original design
because of inadequate testing and maintenance.
Finally, always take into account the level of training and experience of the personnel
who will be operating the plant. Actions which call for elaborate and sophisticated
protective systems are wasted, as well as being inherently dangerous, if operators do not,
and never will, understand how they function. It is not unknown for such devices to be
disabled, either deliberately or in error, because no one knows how to maintain or
calibrate them.

Considering all Keywords - The Hazop procedure


Having gone through the operations involved in recording a single deviation, these can
now be put into the context of the actual study meeting procedure. From the flow
diagram below it can be seen that it is very much an iterative process, applying in a
structured and systematic way the relevant keyword combinations in order to identify
potential problems.

FULL RECORDING versus RECORDING BY EXCEPTION


In the early days of Hazop Studies, it was usual to record only the potential deviations
which carried with them some negative consequence. This might well have been because
such studies were only for internal use within a company. Also, with manually
handwritten records, it certainly reduced the time taken, both in the study itself and the
subsequent production of the Hazop Report. Such methodology is classed as "Recording
by exception", where it is assumed that anything not included is deemed to be
satisfactory.
Latterly, it has become more the accepted practice to set down everything, stating clearly
each keyword combination applied to the system. Where applicable, this would be
followed by a statement indicating either that no Cause could be identified, or
alternatively that no Consequence arose from the Cause recorded. This is classified as
"Full recording", and it results in a Hazop Report which demonstrates unambiguously to
outside parties that a rigorous study has been undertaken. In addition, it produces a
comprehensive document which will greatly assist in the speedy assessment of the safety
and operability of later plant modifications (do they impinge upon a potential deviation
which was originally recognised as being credible, but which involved at that time no
negative consequences ?).
Bearing the above in mind, it is recommended that "Full recording" is instituted. With
the use of a computer, the previous concern regarding time, both in the study and the
reporting, is all but eliminated. To make this methodology easier to handle efficiently,
text macros should be set up as follows:
1. No potential causes identified.
2. No significant negative consequences identified.
3. No action required - existing safeguards considered adequate.
These macros can be used in the appropriate circumstances to quickly set down the
reason for not pursuing a keyword combination.
In addition to the above, the pseudo Secondary words 'All' and 'Remainder' are often
used. These are employed in the following circumstances:

For a particular Primary Keyword (e.g. Flow), some combinations have been
identified as having credible Causes (e.g. Flow/No, Flow/Reverse). Having
explored all other relevant combinations (Flow/Less, Flow/More, Flow/Other,
etc.), no other Causes could be identified. The combination "Flow/Remainder" is
therefore used, with the macro in (1) above.
Having explored all relevant combinations for a particular Primary word, no
potential deviations could be identified. The combination "Flow/All" is therefore
used, with the macro in (1) above.

Use of these pseudo Secondary Keywords greatly improves the readability of the final
report, as it eliminates countless repetitive entries, all with a similar format (i.e. Keyword
combination with "No potential causes identified"). However, to make it a robust system,
the introduction to the Hazop Report must list clearly the Secondary Keywords which
were globally applied to each Primary Keyword; in other words, the 'relevant
combinations'. This will give an unambiguous meaning to the words 'All' and
'Remainder'.
Note that such an approach should only be adopted where no credible Cause is
identified. In cases where the potential deviation is considered possible, but no significant
consequence ensues, then both keywords should be recorded, together with the actual
Cause identified, and macro (2) in the Consequence column.

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HAZARD & OPERABILITY STUDIES (2 of 2)


Mike Lihou - Lihou Technical & Software Services

THE HAZOP TEAM


The team who will conduct the Hazop study should consist of personnel with a good
understanding of the process and plant to be reviewed. The group should ideally contain
about six members, with perhaps an absolute upper limit being set at nine. In a study in
which both contractor and client are participating, it is desirable to maintain a balance
between the two in terms of team membership so that neither side feels outnumbered.
The participants should consist of people from a range of disciplines, and this aspect is
one of the strengths of the Hazop methodology:

With a team of people, each with differing backgrounds and experience, potential
problems are likely to be identified which would be missed by one or two people
working on their own.

It is often the case that one person's solution can become a problem to another
department within the project. For example, a Process Engineer conducting his
own review in isolation may identify a potential problem for which he considers
that another instrument and alarm would be desirable. When this requirement is

passed to the Control & Instrumentation Engineer, it transpires that no suitable


channels are available within the appropriate section of the electronic control
system, which has already been ordered and is currently being manufactured by
the vendor. A protracted inter-departmental discussion and correspondence then
ensues as to possible alternative remedies, and the potential cost penalty of respecifying the control system. All of this could have been settled within a few
minutes had both departments participated in the study.

A spirit of co-operation and common purpose is engendered which crosses


departmental boundaries, and this will persist even after the Hazop Study has
been completed. Personnel will understand better the views, concerns and
constraints within which other disciplines have to work, and will take these into
account when making decisions affecting the project.

The actual composition of the Hazop team will vary according to the type of plant being
reviewed. One person who should always be included is a representative from
Operations. He or she should have first hand experience of day-to-day operations on
either the plant being reviewed, or one that is very similar in nature. The contribution of
this team member to the discussion can be invaluable, as it introduces an operational
perspective to other participants who may have never, for example, had to climb down
into a vessel wearing breathing apparatus to carry out repairs or an inspection.
To summarise, a team should be selected so that a balanced approach to the study is
ensured. In addition, the intention should be that questions raised during the meeting can
be answered immediately, rather than having to resort to the time consuming process of
referring to outside expertise. It is not of course necessary for the same people to
participate in the study from beginning to end. If the "core" of the group consisted of five
people, for example, additional members could be called in from session to session as and
when their particular expertise was needed.
As with all group activities, there needs to be a person appointed who will be in overall
charge; with Hazop Studies this person is usually called the Chairman or Study Leader.
Ideally, he should not have been too closely associated with the project under review as
there might be a risk of him not being sufficiently objective in his direction of the team.
As the Chairman's role is of vital importance in the smooth and efficient progress of the
study, he should be carefully chosen and be fully conversant with the Hazop
methodology.
Another important member of the team will be the Secretary. His contribution to the
discussion may well be minimal, as his main function during the sessions will be to
record the study as it proceeds. He will therefore need to have sufficient technical
knowledge to be able to understand what is being discussed.

PREPARATORY WORK

It is most important that, before a study commences, work that can be conveniently done
beforehand is carried out. This is not only essential in some respects for the proper
structuring of the study and the team, but will also greatly increase the efficiency of the
Hazop and thus retain the interest and enthusiasm of the participants.
This preparatory work will be the responsibility of the Chairman, and the requirements
can be summarised as follows:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Assemble the data


Understand the subject
Subdivide the plant and plan the sequence
Mark-up the drawings
Devise a list of appropriate Keywords
Prepare Node Headings and an Agenda
Prepare a timetable
Select the team

Assemble the data


All relevant documentation should be collected beforehand. Typically this might consist
of:
1. A Process Flow Diagram.
2. A comprehensive Process Description containing operating parameters, flow
rates, volumes, etc., as well as a brief summary of how each plant item functions.
3. P&IDs.
4. Cause & Effect Charts setting out how control and trip systems operate.
5. Details of vendor packages if available.
6. Plant layout diagrams.

Understand the subject


The Chairman should take as much time as is necessary to gain a good understanding of
how the plant is meant to operate, by studying the assembled data and if necessary talking
to the design personnel involved. As he performs this task, it is very likely that he will
notice potential problem areas. Private notes should be made of these, as they might
possibly be missed during the course of the study. In such an event, it can only serve to
enhance the Chairman's standing if he demonstrates his grasp of the subject by pointing
out potential problems that the team have overlooked.
This stage of preparation is perhaps the most important, because it is the foundation upon
which the other steps in the preparation process will be built. Without a reasonable

understanding of how the plant functions, it will be impossible to plan a sensible study
strategy, decide how long the review is likely to take, or who needs to be included in the
study team.
Some proponents of the Hazop methodology state that there is no need for the Chairman
to have any knowledge of the plant being reviewed, his function being only to ensure that
the meeting progresses smoothly. An analogy to this approach would be a leader
attempting to guide an expedition without a map, no plan of action other than to get to the
destination, and with no knowledge of the terrain to be traversed. Such a leader would
command very little respect from other members of the team, and at the first sign of
trouble he would likely be sidelined and marginalised by those with a better
understanding of the situation. Once that has happened it will be almost impossible for
him to regain control of the group.

Subdivide the plant and plan the sequence


In all but the simplest of plants, it is too much to expect any study team to deal with all
aspects and operations in the process simultaneously. Therefore, it must be split into
manageable sections (commonly referred to as Nodes, but sometimes called Tables
because of the tabular means of recording the study). Also, the sequence in which these
sections are studied is important.
With continuous plant, one usually progresses from upstream to downstream, with
services such as drains, vent headers, instrument air, cooling water, etc. being considered
separately and last. With regard to splitting the plant into sections, there is no need to
consider each line and every single minor item of equipment under a separate Node. This
will be wasteful of time, and boring and tedious for the team.
Instead, endeavour to group smaller items into logical units. Therefore, a minor pump
with its suction, discharge and kick-back lines might be grouped together in a Node.
However, with a major compressor, the recycle line and its in-line cooler should perhaps
be studied separately. Also, when studying a vessel the Node should encompass those
inlet/outlet lines up to and including any control/isolation valve/s, all level bridles, as
well as vent lines up to the PSV.
If a number of streams converge on a vessel, the study sequence should if at all possible
deal with all of those streams before the vessel is considered. The rule is "never study a
vessel until the incoming deviations are known".
With batch operations, an entirely different approach is needed. In such a case the plant
drawings are an accessory rather than the prime focus of the study. Of greater importance
instead will be a detailed flowchart or operational sequence of steps to be accomplished.
It is these batch sequences which will need to be split into manageable sections, and
keywords may well target sequential operations such as Prepare, Charge, React, Transfer,

Centrifuge, Dry etc. This methodology is required because an individual plant item is
very likely to be put into differing states and serve different purposes at various stages of
the sequence.

Mark the drawings


When the study strategy has been decided, the plant items encompassed by each Node
should be marked in distinctive and separate colours, with the Node Numbers alongside
in the same colour. Lines should be paralleled, and equipment and vessels outlined in the
chosen colour. Where a Node spans two or more drawings, the colour used should
remain constant.
This prior marking is a departure from the more usual practise of doing such work whilst
the study progresses. However, it serves two purposes. Firstly, it will save time during
the meeting, both in the actual marking and the discussion as to where a Node should
begin and end. Secondly, the Chairman will be assured that in planning the study
strategy nothing has been inadvertently missed.

Devise a list of appropriate Keywords


Having completed the work above, it will be a simple matter to formulate a
comprehensive list of the Keywords required to cover all aspects of the process to be
studied.
Some companies, because most of the plant that they operate is of a similar nature, will
have a standard set of Keywords. Such a list should be checked to ensure that it is covers
all aspects of the system to be studied. Any redundant Keywords should be removed.
For example, if the subject of the review is to be a pumping station, the inclusion of a
keyword such as 'Absorb' is unnecessary.
The finalised list should be duplicated and a copy given to every team member. Also
included should be a schedule of appropriate keyword combinations (i.e. which
Secondary keywords will be applied with each Primary keyword). Where there are likely
to be semantic problems as to what meaning/s a particular combination is intended to
convey, then a full explanation should be given.
When devising the list, bear in mind that the smaller the number of words utilised, the
more speedy the study. That is not to say that aspects of the process should be
discounted. Instead, to illustrate what is meant, imagine a plant containing a separation
vessel, some pump suction filters, and an environmental scrubber. Rather than have three
keywords 'Separate', 'Filter', 'Absorb', have instead one keyword 'Separate'... that, after

all, is the basic function of all those equipment items. Similarly, 'Temperature' can cover
heat transfer aspects of Heaters, Coolers, and Heat Exchangers.

Prepare Node Headings and Agenda


Node Headings reference the relevant drawings, and contain a brief description of the
design intent of the relevant plant section, with process parameters, flow rates, and any
other potentially informative details.
The agenda is a list of those headings. A copy should be handed to each team member.
In addition to being informative and an aid to full participation, it will serve to put into
perspective the amount of work to be accomplished in the time allotted. Hopefully this
will induce an appropriate sense of urgency.

Prepare a timetable
For all but a one day study, the Chairman should devise a timetable showing what needs
to be accomplished at each study meeting if the schedule is to be maintained. In devising
this schedule he will need to call upon his experience when assessing how much time the
review will take. A great deal will depend upon the complexity of the plant as well as the
experience of the team.
As a rough guide, with straightforward plant and with P&IDs which are not too
'cluttered', on average three drawings can be studied in a day. If the system to be
reviewed is complex, or if each P&ID seems to have been drawn with the intention of not
wasting any space (i.e. as many plant items as would fit are included on the drawing),
then almost certainly only two or perhaps even one drawing will be completed in a day.
Be prepared for time slippage at the start of the study. Progress is always slow to begin
with, whilst the team are acclimatising themselves to this novel role of casting critical
eyes over their own or their colleague's design efforts. After the first day everything will
speed up, and the schedule should be on target by the end of the week. Do not, however,
allow the timetable to reflect this expectation of a slow start... better for the team to
realise that they must increase their efforts, rather than go home thinking that this first
slow day is the norm.

Select the team


Having gained a good appreciation of what will be involved in the study, both in terms of
content and timetable, the Chairman can ensure that the core team members have suitable

expertise and will be available for the duration of the review. In addition, he can also
ascertain which personnel with additional expertise are likely to be needed during the
course of the meetings, and when their assistance will be required. With regard to the
latter aspect, in certain circumstances the study sequence may need to be tailored around
the availability of such personnel.

RUNNING A HAZOP STUDY


After all the above preparation, the Chairman should be in a position to easily guide an
efficient and comprehensive study through to a successful conclusion. However, there
are a few guidelines to remember:

It is always a temptation for team members to illustrate their ideas by quickly


drawing on the master P&ID which has been so painstakingly marked up.
Establish the rule right at the beginning that this is forbidden, even in pencil.

Similarly, with tie-ins and vendor packages, a team member may endeavour to
help by roughly illustrating the upstream/downstream plant or the internal
workings of the package. Be firm in the rejection of such help... it is dangerous to
pretend to have studied something when all that is available is a few scribblings
on a sheet of paper.

If the schedule is slipping, resist the temptation to hasten the process by listing
potential causes/consequences yourself. All that results is that the team sits back
and listens to you dictating to the Secretary, and they will continue to do so until
you force them to participate again.

Do not allow a separate meeting to develop, with two team members conversing
in low voices at the corner of the table. If this happens, stop the general
discussion and ask them to share with the rest of the team the benefit of their
deliberations (always assume that they are discussing something directly relevant
to the study, although the likelihood is otherwise). This will usually elicit an
apology and bring them back to full participation.
If they persist, request that the rest of the team members be completely silent
whilst the private discussion continues. If even this does not produce the required
result, call a coffee break. Then speaking privately to the persons concerned,
politely but firmly insist that they leave the meeting. Such members usually have
nothing to contribute to the study, and they will only irritate and demotivate the
remainder of the team.

Ensure that all team members participate, even those who might well feel unsure
of themselves. Do this by asking questions such as "Do you agree with that
solution, Bob?", or "What severity would you attach to this consequence, Fred?".

Alternatively, and less potentially contentious, you could request "John, could you
help the Secretary by summarising in a few words the agreed action". Once such
team members realise that they are not going to be contradicted as soon as they
open their mouths, they participate to the best of their ability.

Recognise and reward with praise the team member/s who contribute to the
discussion wholeheartedly and sensibly. However, do not allow them to
overshadow the rest of the team.

If discussion wanders away from the matter under consideration, re-focus the
attention of the team either by requesting that the Secretary read out what he has
recorded, or by asking for an action to be formulated. The latter usually
concentrates the mind and encourages the team members to get to the heart of the
problem.

Where a particularly intractable problem arises, or consequences of a serious


nature are uncovered, too often an inordinate amount of time is devoted to
formulating potential remedies. Solutions and counter solutions are proposed and
discussed, there is much speculation as to costs and other related aspects, and
generally no satisfactory conclusion is reached. Before too much time is wasted,
such situations should be dealt with by placing an action upon a specific person to
investigate and report upon what alternatives are available, together with the
advantages/disadvantages of each. Any discussion, gathering of additional data,
reliability calculations, etc. can thereby be accomplished outside of the Hazop
meeting, allowing the team to progress steadily with the review.

The Chairman should be independent and unbiased, and should not be perceived
as constantly favouring one section of the team as opposed to another. This is of
particular importance when personnel from both client and contractor are
participating. If a difficult situation arises, where, for example, there is a heated
dispute over whether an action should be undertaken, in some cases one of the
parties to the dispute will request that the Chairman makes the final decision. If,
in the Chairman's estimation, the reasons on one side of the argument are so
strong as to be indisputable, then he should say so. On the other hand, should the
situation be finely balanced, then the dispute can be defused by careful wording of
an action.
Take as an example the situation where the client wishes to have an additional
High Level Alarm, but the contractor strongly disputes its necessity. Consider the
following actions:
o

"Fit a High Level Alarm". In the view of the contractor, the Chairman has
sided with the client. He may, wrongly or otherwise, perceive this to be a
biased decision.

The action "Justify the requirement for a High Level Alarm" is addressed
to the client. The Chairman favours the contractor's argument, but is not
dismissing altogether the views of the client. Both parties are likely to be
content with this formula.

The action "Justify the absence of a High Level Alarm" is addressed to the
contractor. The Chairman favours the client's argument, but is not
dismissing altogether the views of the contractor. As before, neither party
will have cause to feel aggrieved.
By effectively postponing a final decision until a later review of Action
Responses, it is often the case that the two sides will get together after
passions have cooled to discuss the matter rationally. Almost invariably
the situation will then be amicably resolved.

THE REPORT
The Hazop Report is a key document pertaining to the safety of the plant. The number of
man-hours spent on the study is usually considerable. It is crucial that the benefit of this
expert study is easily accessible and comprehensible for future reference in case the need
arises to alter the plant or its operating conditions.
The major part of such a report is of course the printed Minutes, in which is listed the
team members, meeting dates, Keywords applied, and of course every detail of the study
teams findings. However, it is usual to include with this a general summary. The
contents of such a summary might typically be:

An outline of the terms of reference and scope of the study.

A very brief description of the process which was studied.

The procedures and protocol employed. The Keyword combinations applied


should be listed, together with the explanatory meanings given to the team at the
start of the study. Also the fact that Action Sheets have been produced and
responses will be recorded should be explained. A brief description of the Action
File (described in the following section) should be included.

General comments. If, for example, the team were assured that high point vents
and low point drains would be universally provided, mention that statement and
its source. If certain details of vendor packages were not available, explain and
list the items which were not reviewed.

Results. This usually states the number of recommended actions.

Also included in the Hazop Report would be an Appendix containing:

Master copies of the drawings studied.

Copies of technical data used.

Cause and Effect charts (i.e. matrices showing the executive action of safety
related instruments and trips).

Any calculations produced.

Relevant correspondence between departments, from contractor to vendor, or


client to contractor.

Each of the above should be signed and dated by the Chairman.

THE ACTION FILE AND REVIEW MEETINGS


The Hazop Report is compiled as soon as possible after the end of the study, and once
completed does not change. On the other hand the Action File is only started at the end
of the study, and its contents will continue to change perhaps for many months, until the
very last action has been reviewed and accepted as having been satisfactorily discharged.
Essentially, this Action File is a binder. Initially, at the end of the study, it will be empty.
As completed and signed Action Response Sheets are returned, they are housed in the
binder. Periodically, the returned responses will be input into the data file (either
manually or electronically, according to the system being used).
By the time the first review meeting is convened there should be no outstanding (i.e.
overdue) responses. The Secretary would prepare a listing of all responses received,
making a copy for each review team member. During the review meeting responses will
either be accepted and marked as having been discharged, or in a small number of cases
further action would need to be taken.
At the end of the first review, where further action had been required, Action Sheets for
these would be produced for distribution. In due course these would be completed,
signed and returned, and these further responses would be input into the data file and
housed in the Action File as before.
The procedure for the second review meeting is the same as for the first, except that the
number of responses would of course be much smaller. If some of those responses were
still not found to be satisfactory, then the process as outlined above would be carried out
again.

It can be seen that the Action File represents a hard copy record of the state of completion
of Hazop recommendations at any point in time. When all action responses have been
reviewed and accepted, it finally becomes a static record containing the complete history
of the implementation of the Hazop Study's findings.

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