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January 29, 2019


Trevor Kletz, in his book HAZOP and HAZAN, noted:


Although HAZOP is a valuable technique, no-one jumps out of bed on a Monday morning shouting, ‘Hooray! I’ve got a HAZOP today!’.

The need to consider every deviation on every line can become tedious. Beware of making it more so by bureaucratic procedures such as insisting on excessive recording or discussing everything twice (or three times) in the HAZOP meeting and afterwards with the boss or the project team.

There is a net loss if, in our eagerness to document it and explain it to everybody, we discover less information worth documenting. If HAZOP and similar systems are not acceptable to creative minds, they will never succeed.

So well done Mr Phil Eames for highlighting the value of planning Hazard Studies (https://www.thechemicalengineer.com/features/hazard-identification-planning-for-success/).


My own tuppence worth from the fading scars of nearly 30 years of "cat-herding":


  • Facilitator is a better title/role than Chairman (Chairperson) or Leader as the word is derived from the Latin 'facilis' = easy. These studies should be as painless and productive as possible and steering the discussions (firmly & fairly) is a core attribute that not everybody has.

  • Like all competence considerations, training has to be enhanced by applied experience. Do not attend a HAZOP Leadership course and assume this gives you the character to facilitate effectively and efficiently.

  • I agree that HAZOP is not the "sonic screwdriver" of hazard identification tools. Read the IChemE HAZOP Guide to Best Practice (https://www.elsevier.com/books/hazop-guide-to-best-practice/crawley/978-0-323-39460-4) by Frank Crawley (who taught me HAZOP at university) and Brian Tyler (who trained me in HAZOP in late 80's) to find out what proportionate alternatives are available.

  • We don't do it FOR you - we do it WITH you and the success is influenced not just by the craft of the Facilitator but also the quality and quantity of the available resources. It needs accurate documentation ("As Built" drawings do not necessarily represent "As Is" - how good is your MoC?) and committed, informed and experienced participants.

  • I would argue that the Facilitator also needs (or at least benefits from) experience of the process or industry being studied otherwise they are unable to technically challenge the contributions of the team. 'Tis true that having a technical specialist is a key component, it is sometimes easy to fall into group-think e.g. the team defer to the 'guru' and an knowledgeable Facilitator can avoid this.

  • Studies (and subsequent activities - see below) need an empowered owner from the site or project team to make sure the right resources are provided at the right time and have the clout to make it happen.

  • Facilitators are very often anonymous visitors in offices, sites whose movements and access to information may be restricted so don't assume they can chase things up before, during or after.

  • Make sure you progress and resolve the Recommendations (to be considered) and Actions (to be done) whilst the knowledge/memory is still fresh i.e. before the project disbands and definitely before the hazards are introduced (which may actually be during construction i.e. well before commissioning & operation).

  • Have a robust action management system (Excel/Word are OK for recording but there is a reason that HAZOP/PHA tools have been developed to support the whole lifecycle not just make the recording easier). If you don't follow up the actions, you are no safer than when you started and you've just wasted time and money for a document (don't get me started on PDF deliverables) that will never see the light of day.

Here endeth the rant !


Please have a look at HSE Research on HAZOP QA (http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/otopdf/1996/oto96002.pdf) , read our article on Visual HAZOP (https://www.thechemicalengineer.com/features/visual-hazop/) and keep an eye out for a forthcoming follow-up article about "Enhancing PHAs: The Power of Bowties"


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