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Facts At Your Fingertips

Process Hazards Analysis Methods

Department Editor: Scott Jenkins

ifferent methodologies are

available for conducting the
structured reviews known as
process hazards analyses (PHAs) for
new processes. PHAs are often conducted or moderated by specialists,
with participation by the design team,
representatives of the facility owner,
and experienced process operators.
Each different PHA method is better-suited to a specific purpose and
should be applied at different stages of the project development. The
table includes brief descriptions of
some of the most widely used PHA
methods in the chemical process industries (CPI).

When to use different methods

Different types of PHA studies have
varying impact, depending on the design phase in which they are applied.
For example, if a consequence analysis is not performed in a conceptual
or pre-FEED (front-end engineering
and design) phase, important plotplan considerations can be missed,
such as the need to own more land
to avoid effects on public spaces; or
the fact that the location might have a
different elevation with respect to sea
level than surrounding public places
impacted by a flare plume.
Some other studies, like HAZOP,
cannot be developed without a control philosophy or piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), and are
performed at the end of the FEED
stage or at the end of the detailed
engineering phase (or for improved
results, at the end of both) to define
and validate the location of pressure
safety valves (PSVs) as well as to
validate other process controls and
instrument safety requirements.
QRA or LOPA evaluations (or both)
are undertaken after the HAZOP study
to validate siting and define safety integrity levels (SIL), to finally meet the
level required by the plant.
Editors note: The definitions in the table, and associated
comments, were adapted from the following article: Giardinella, S., Baumeister, A. and Marchetti, M. Engineering for
Plant Safety. Chem. Eng., August 2015, pp. 5058. An additional reference is the following article: Wong, A., Guillard,
P. and Hyatt, N. Getting the Most Out of HAZOP Analysis,
Chem. Eng., August 1, 2004, pp. 5558.




Consequence analysis

This method quantitatively assesses the consequences of hazardous material

releases. Release rates are calculated for the worst case and also for alternative scenarios. Toxicological endpoints are defined, and possible release duration is determined

Hazard identification
analysis (HAZID)

HAZID is a preliminary study that is performed in early project stages when

potentially hazardous materials, general process information, initial flow diagram
and plant location are known. HAZID is also generally used later on to perform
other hazard studies and to design the preliminary piping and instrumentation
diagrams (P&IDs)

What-if method

The what-if method is a brainstorming technique that uses questions starting

with What if..., such as What if the pump stops running or What if the operator opens or closes a certain valve? For best results, these analyses should
be held by experienced staff to be able to foresee possible failures and identify
design alternatives to avoid them

Hazard and operability

study (HAZOP)

The HAZOP technique has been a standard since the 1960s in the chemical,
petroleum refining and oil-and-gas industries. It is based on the assumption
that there will be no hazard if the plant is operated within the design parameters, and analyzes deviations of the design variables that might lead to undesirable consequences for people, equipment, environment, plant operations or
company image.
If a deviation is plausible, its consequences and probability of occurrence
are then studied by the HAZOP team. Usually an external company is hired to
interact with the operator company and the engineering company to perform
this study. There are at least two methods using matrices to evaluate the risk
(R): one evaluates consequence level (C) times frequency (F) of occurrence;
and the other incorporates exposition (E) as a time value and probability (P)
ranging from practically impossible to almost sure to happen. In this method,
the risk is found by the following equation: R = E P C

analysis (LOPA).

The LOPA method analyzes the probability of failure of independent protection

layers (IPLs) in the event of a scenario previously studied in a quantitative hazard
evaluation like a HAZOP. LOPA is used when a plant uses instrumentation independent from operation, safety instrumented systems (SIS) to assure a certain
safety integrity level (SIL). The study uses a fault tree to study the probability of
failure on demand (PFD) and assigns a required SIL to a specific instrumentation
node. For example, in petroleum refineries, most companies will maintain a SIL
equal to or less than 2 (average probability of failure on demand 103 to <102),
and a nuclear plant will tolerate a SIL 4 (average probability of failure on demand
105 to <104)

Fault-tree analysis

Fault-tree analysis is a deductive technique that uses Boolean logic symbols (that
is, AND or OR gates) to break down the causes of a top event into basic equipment failures or human errors. The immediate causes of the top event are called
fault causes. The resulting fault-tree model displays the logical relationship
between the basic events and the selected top event

Quantitative risk assess- QRA is the systematic development of numerical estimates of the expected
ment (QRA)
frequency and consequence of potential accidents based on engineering
evaluation and mathematical techniques. The numerical estimates can vary
from simple values of probability or frequency of an event occurring based on
relevant historical data of the industry or other available data, to very detailed
frequency modeling techniques. The events studied are the release of a hazardous or toxic material, explosions or boiling-liquid expanded-vapor explosion
(BLEVE). The results of this study are usually shown on top of the plot plan
Failure mode and effects This method evaluates the ways in which equipment fails and the systems response to the failure. The focus of the FMEA is on single equipment failures and
analysis (FMEA)
system failures