You are on page 1of 8

Original Article J Res Health Sci, Vol. 8, No.2, 2008, pp.

J Res Health Sci, Vol. 8, No.2, 2008, pp. 13-20

Application of a Hazard and Operability Study Method to

Hazard Evaluation of a Chemical Unit of the Power Station

*Habibi E. PhD, **Zare M. MSc, ** Barkhordari A. PhD, ** Mirmohammadi SJ. MD,

** Halvani GhH. MSc

*Dept. of Occupational Health, Faculty of Health, University of Esfehan Medical Sciences, Iran
**Dept. of Occupational Health, Faculty of Health, Shaheed Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences,
Yazd, Iran

(Received 19 Sep 2008; Accepted 3 Nov 2008)

Background: The aim of this study was to identify the hazards, evaluate their risk factors and deter-
mine the measure for promotion of the process and reduction of accidents in the chemical unit of the
power station.
Methods: In this case and qualitative study, HAZOP technique was used to recognize the hazards and
problems of operations on the chemical section at power station. Totally, 126 deviations were docu-
mented with various causes and consequences.
Results: Ranking and evaluation of identified risks indicate that the majority of deviations were cate-
gorized as "acceptable" and less than half of that were "unacceptable". The highest calculated risk level
(1B) related to both the interruption of acid entry to the discharge pumps and an increased density of
the acid. About 27% of the deviations had the lowest risk level (4B).
Conclusion: The identification of hazards by HAZOP indicates that it could, systemically, assess and
criticize the process of consumption or production of acid and alkali in the chemical unit of power plant.

Keywords: Hazard and operability, HAZOP, Risk assessment, Chemical unit

Introduction industries, especially chemical plants (1, 6-

The incidence of major industrial accidents 10). In this approach, members use their in-
around the world led to the innovation of va- novation and initiative according to the basis
rious hazard identification techniques includ- of simulation and brain storming for iden-
ing Fault Mode Effective Analysis (FMEA), tification of deviations from the main proc-
Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), Hazards and Op- ess design, their relative causes, effects and fi-
erability Study (HAZOP) and Energy Trace nally to present the method of control (11, 12).
and Barrier Analysis (ETBA) (1-4). Potential To determine the deviation of parameters from
hazards and accidents for personnel, equip- the main aim of process design, guide words
ments and the environment can be recogni- including temperature, pressure, conductivity,
zed and prevented by special process (5). water flow, services failure, utilization of in-
HAZOP, as a multidisciplinary team effort, struments and others are also applied (2, 7, 13).
was initially developed since 1960 for analy The qualitative matrix methods, as an instru-
sis of risk factors and safety measures and ment for adopting a logical decision, have also
can be considered as one of the most accurate been used for determining of any relative risk
methods for identifying hazards in the various level (14, 15). There have been few scientific
studies in the field of hazard identification ei-
*Corresponding author: Dr Ehsan Habibi, Tel: +98 ther in Iran or other countries using HAZOP,
311 7922737 , E-mail:

Habibi E et al: Application of a Hazard

but nothing found on chemical unit of power pathways were not included due to similarity
station (10, 12, 16-20). in the procedures. The priority and estima-
This study therefore, was conducted to: 1) tion of the qualitative hazards, risk manage-
identify the hazards; 2) evaluate their risk ment in the form of risk assessment matrix
factors; 3) determine the priority and esti- were also determined. The risk factors were
mation of qualitative hazards and 4) to pro- also classified in three following stages and
pose the measure for promotion of the proc- then results were entered in the HAZOP work
ess and reduction of accidents in the chemi- documents:
cal unit of the power station. Determination of the probability of the con-
sequences of deviation in 5 groups from fre-
Materials and Methods quent to rare.
The present study as a case and qualitative Severity of accident in 4 groups from catas-
study were conducted at the chemical unit of trophic to marginal.
the power station in northwest of Yazd Prov- Combination of severity and probability of
ince. Briefly, very pure and non ionized water each risk to determine the danger levels and
are produced for high pressure boilers of the the priority of control measures, qualitatively.
power station. Different processes including
chlorination, removal of suspended particles Results
larger than 5 microns by sand filters and A total of 14 nodes were recognized, evalu-
creasy cartridges, removal of chlorine, re- ated and then documented in a 45-page which
verse osmosis and exchange of ions were summarized in Table 3, 4. The operational
taken place to decrease water conductivity. problems were mainly focused by team mem-
In addition, to restore saturated resins during bers and more attention paid on the devia-
the process, acidic and alkaline sections have tions with negative impact on the operations
been designed in which Ca, Mg and SO42- of the system resulting in financial losses and
ions are replaced with H+ and OH- ions in personal injuries.
the resins, respectively (Fig. 1). Initially, all Generally, in this study, 126 deviations were
the required documents including maps, de- identified in which 15% were related to nodes
tails of operations and systems, piping and from the entry of raw water to entry of the
instruments diagrams, technical details and di- sand filters, 15% filter tanks, 12% cartridge
rections for implementation of systems were filters, 5% high pressure pumps, 10% reverse
gathered by main team members who were osmosis, 3% permeate tanks to the DEMIN
familiar with the design of Chemical Unit. PLANT FEED PUMP, 9% entry of the cation
The nodes of the processes including entry exchange chamber to entry of the resin catcher,
of raw water till the entrance of the sand fil- 7% resin catcher to degasser, 8% acid injec-
ters, tanks of the sand filters, cartridge fil- tion pathway from the exit of the daily stor-
ters, high pressure pumps, reverse osmosis age to entry of the mixing T shaped and 4%
system, permeate tank, caution resin tank, were related to the mixing T.
resin catcher, degasser, acid discharge, acid As the results show, one deviation can have
tank and mixing T shaped were recognized. several causes and effects. In the study, 293
Some of the nodes were altered during the causes of deviations were identified of which
study. The scenarios of deviation from the the main causes included; failures in the level
main process were also recognized by team measurement instruments, simultaneous start-
members using guiding words (Table 1) and ing of the pumps, non regulation of valves,
process parameters (Table 2). Despite of ini- presence of air in the water flow pathway,
tial aim of the study, some of the operational performance of production processes manu-

J Res Health Sci, Vol. 8, No.2, 2008, pp. 13-20

ally, torn reverse osmosis membrane, corro- calculated risk level, however low percent,
sion of the acid pathway, defective check (1.5% of the deviations) was related to in-
valves, failures in course of acid pump, block- terruption of acid entry to the discharge pump
age of pathways, mechanical problems of va- and increased density of acid (1B). The low-
lves, increased or decreased the amount of in- est risk levels of deviations was related to
jection of pumps and increased corrosion. The 4D(27%) followed by 3D(2%), 4C (9.5%), 4B
causes were mainly related to the equipments (4%), 2D(12%), 3C (8%), 3B(6.5%), 2B(5%),
(43.5%), manual or operator (35.8%), logic and 7% of the deviations had other risk levels.
control panel (9.2%) and 12% to other causes.
A total of 175 suggestions were proposed and, Table 1: Some of key word used in HAZOP meth-
there were no any proposals for some of de-
viations. Suggestions were mainly related to Key Words Description
the modification and improvement of equip- No Negation of the design intent
ments or processes (42%), regular mainte- More than Quantitative increase
Less than Quantitative decrease
nance of equipment (35%), and the use of As Well As Qualitative increase
correct operational methods (23%). Part of Qualitative decrease
According to the results, 10.4% of devia- Reverse Logical opposite of the intent
tions were not acceptable, 35.7% were unde- Other than Complete substitution or
sirable, 24.6% were acceptable but needed Other than the operational procedures occur
reconsideration and 29.3% were acceptable abnormally
and no need any correction act. The maximum
Table 2: Some of process parameters
Parameter Deviation Parameter Deviation
No flow, reversed flow, more &
Flow Pressure More or low or no pressure
low flow
Opacity More & low opacity Temperature More or low Temperature
Pollution Route blockage conductivity More Conductivity
Corrosion More corrosion Abnormal operation Valve, pump and etc failure
Pressure difference P More Contaminants Increase or decrease CL or oil in water
Recovery Low Recovery PH More PH
Concentration More or low concentration Level More or low Level

Fig. 1: System for Production of Ultra Pure Water in High Pressure Boilers of the Power Station

Habibi E et al: Application of a Hazard

Table 3: Sample of the HAZOP Results Summary (For Chemical Plant

Deviation Possible causes Consequences Action Required

No 1- Blocked inlet and outlet of the pump Line Trip, and no 1- Install switch on manual valve as safety
Pressure 2- Ingress of air in pump produce permeate lock
3-Pump Failure water 2- Install auto vent on line
4- Blockage at route and clogging before 3- Set up a filter with tiny mesh on the
pump entrance of water
5- Fouling of check valves 4- Periodical inspection & maintenance
6- Manual valve failure
Low 1- Decrease in level of Raw Water Vessel Line Trip, and no 1- Placed start and stop key of raw water
Pressure regard to inlet suction produce permeate pump in PLCa
2- Strainer blockage water 2- Installing moisture sensor near sand
3- Pipe or Vessel Rupture filter pump
4- Flange failure 3- Controlling of manual valves
5- Pump Corrosion 4- Periodical inspection & maintenance
Low Flow 1- No regular manual valve in outlet of Line Trip, and no 1- Controlling of manual valves
Raw Water Pump, Concentrate of produce permeate 2- Regular backwash of sand filter
Reverse Osmosis, High Pressure Pump water 3- Periodical inspection & maintenance
2- Failure in pump suction
3- Check valve blockage
4- Finishing using time of sand filter

High Flow 1- No regularize manual valve Line Trip, and no Programming on PLC that no start
2- Mechanical failure in flange produce permeate additional pump when one pump is
3- Start accidental pump water and cracking running
Water 1- Electrical or mechanical failure on Growing micro 1- Weekly inspection of chlorine vessel
without chlorine pump organisms & algae on 2- Maintenance & repairing of chlorine
chlorine 2- Unloading of chlorine vessel raw water & sand pump
3-Bblockage on chlorine injection rout filter vessel & RO 3- Full dissolving of hypochlorite solution
4- No standard percentage chlorine
Water 1-Increase at injection dose of chlorine Increase corrosion, 1- Install chlorine sensor on the entrance
with pump affect on ROb of water that measure chlorine rate and
additional 2- Decrease in raw water flow membrane & more regulate injection dose of chlorine pump
chlorine 3- Percentage of chlorine solution is more consuming of SMBSc automatically
than standards 2- Install flow meter
3- Chlorine pump start automatically of
Service 1- Tow phase in Acid pump in cause No unloading of Acid, Maintenance & periodical repairing
failures electrical failure diffusion of Acid on
2- Acid Pump corrosion place
3- Mechanical failure in Acid instrument

Panel Logic Control
Reverse Osmosis

J Res Health Sci, Vol. 8, No.2, 2008, pp. 13-20

Table 4: Sample of the HAZOP Results Summary (For Chemical Plant)

Deviation Possible causes Consequences Action Required

Pump reversed 1-Enter error electrical phase into pump Line Trip, and no Install auto vent on routing
2- Decrease on vessel level produce permeate
3- No getting air on apparatus followed by water
Increase in water 1- Reduce in quality of raw water Increase corrosion, Periodical water examination, regulate
hardness 2- Raising dust on vessel decrease in recovery & pressure in RO
Permeate water
quality, decline in
recovery, saturated
of dmin vessel
Abnormal 1- Fault at PLC programming Damage to valves Maintenance & periodical repairing
Operation (failure 2- Mechanical failure in valves
valve) 3- Interruption air of pneumatic valves
Increase opacity 1- Deficit silica & anthracite height in sand Quick blockage of 1- Install opacity tester
filter filters 2- Set up diffusion water
2- Creation flood channel among sand filter
3- Inappropriate granular in sand filter
4- Running away nozzle
5- Inefficient rinse after backwash
6- Use more extra of sand filter
Increase P 1-Finish normal using time of cartridge Change in Install resin catcher before cartridge
Pressure 2- corrosion in routing recovery, passing
difference 3- Running away washer among piping & suspended particles
stick on cartridge
Increase recovery 1-Decrease draining at RO concentrate Increase 1- Regular flow meter calibration
2- RO membrane torn Conductivity and 2- Install recovery representative in
3- Running away RO oaring decrease water PLC
4- Blockage rout and concentrate check quality also reduce 3- install automatic regulated valve
valve in advantage using instead manual valve
Flow interruption 1-Running away stride Diffuse acid in the Maintenance & periodical repairing
to unloading acid 2-Blockage in stride place
Entrance acid to 1- Operator error in connecting routes Explosion 1- Full isolation acid and base route
alkaline line together 2- labeling acid and base route
3- using different flange for any route
Puncturing acid 1- Chemical reaction Sprinkling acid Install plastic curtain surrounding
vessel 2- Physical failure ( knocking) and environment vessel to prevent leakage
Decrease acid In attendance impurities like water and iron Equipment Periodical inspection, catching
concentration to corrosion, reduce humidity in air route
below 98% acid potency

Strengthen acid 1- Increase acid injection pump course Damage to resin, 1- Maintenance & periodical repairing
concentration 2- Low water flow in entry of Mixing Tee Equipment of acid pump, valve control,
more than 4% corrosion 2- install flow switch high
Raised calcium Utilizing water with more than 90 micro Affect on resin 1- Install on-line conduct meter
and magnesium siemens conductivity 2- Line trip if water conduct is more
and sediment than 90 micro siemens
calcium sulfate

Habibi E et al: Application of a Hazard

Discussion Ranking and evaluation of identified risks

HAZOP was first developed and used for indicate that the majority of deviations were
analysis of risk factors and safety measures categorized as "acceptable" and less than half
by several researchers, working independ- of that were "unacceptable". According to the
ently, in the 1960s. There is now a body of results, the highest level of risk was related
work describing the identification of hazards to deviation of acid and alkali which is con-
using HAZOP methodology. In spite of sev- sidered as "unacceptable". Discharge of acid
eral studies, nothing found on chemical unit and alkali, in spite of low percent of devia-
of power station. This study, therefore, has tion (1.5%), would increase the chance of
characterized and determined the hazards for accidents and the process, therefore, need to
the first time, as comprehensive analysis. be modified immediately (23). Most of the
The investigation was supplemented, as ap- deviations in the present study were clas-
propriate, by more conventional qualitative sified as undesirable and need to be assessed
matrix methods. All this builds to a profile by the top management. It is necessary to
of analysis and must be considered as a whole point out that, the most important problems
to achieve a full interpretation of the data. during the study were the gathering of team
With respect to the aims of the study, a large members, inconvenience and difficulties for
number of risks and hazards identified in organizing of meetings and the lack of incli-
which deviations were mainly related to nation during meetings (18).
nodes from the entry of raw water to entry of The prominent suggestions were the modifi-
the sand filters (14, 21). In consistent with cation and improvement of process and eq-
the findings of Angela Pulley in America, uipments which play an important role in the
more than half of the identified causes were reduction of hazards. The use of acid and al-
related to equipment defects followed by kali in the workplace may increase the chance
operator errors (17). The manual control sys- of accidents in the process and need to be
tem may also increases the number of devia- modified immediately.
tions and, therefore, the automatic control In conclusion, the identification of hazards
panels should be applied (22). by HAZOP indicates that it could, systemi-
For prevention of deviations, attention should cally, assess and criticize the process of con-
be, therefore, focused on the application of sumption or production of acid and alkali.
instructions for regular inspections and main- This technique can be, therefore, considered
tenance of systems. It is worth to mention that, as an effective method for recognition and
the finding of this study is consistent to the prediction of hazards and it may increase the
observations of Shafaghi who worked on Ab- safety levels, prevent accidents and enhance
sorption Heat Pump in the US (19). Some of the reliability of systems via the reduction of
the suggestions in various nodes were simi- operational problems.
lar, so that it was impossible to propose any
idea or there were no specific offer. The pat- Acknowledgements
tern of this study is similar to the model dem- The author would like to thank Esfahan Uni-
onstrated by previous investigations (18). An versity of Medical Sciences for their finan-
explanation is that a number of deviations in cial support. We also offer appreciation to
other nodes were not used due to the similarity management, staff of the Power Station and
in their causes, effects and results. This point members of the team, especially the leader
is also common in HAZOP procedure and have of the chemical unit for their co-operation.
previously mentioned in other studies (18).

J Res Health Sci, Vol. 8, No.2, 2008, pp. 13-20

References of the Tenth Annual Conference on.

1. Khan FI, Abbasi SA. OptHAZOP an 1995; 37-48.
effective and optimum approach for 12. Labovsk J, Jelemensk L, Marko J.
HAZOP study. J Loss Prev Process Safety analysis and risk identification
Ind.1997; 10(3):191-204. for a tubular reactor using the HAZOP
2. Dennis P, Nolan PE. Application of methodology. Chemical Pap. 2006;
HAZOP and What-If Safety Reviews to 60(6): 454-59.
the Petroleum, Petrochemical and Chemi- 13. Fencott C, Hebbron BD. The applica-
cal Industries. 1st ed. Noyes Publica- tion of HAZOP studies to integrated
tions. USA, 1994: pp. 67-84 requirements models for control sys-
3. Suokas J. The role of safety analysis in tems. ISA Trans. 1995; 34(3): 297-308.
accident prevention. Accid Anal & Prev. 14. Redmill F, Chudleigh MF, Catmur JR.
1988; 20(1): 67-85. Principles underlying a guideline for
4. McKelvey TC. How to improve the ef- applying HAZOP to programmable
fectiveness of hazard and operability electronic systems. Reliab Eng Sys
analysis. IEEE Trans on Rel. 1988; 37(2): Safety.1997; 55(3): 283-93.
167-70. 15. Muhlbauer WK. Pipeline Risk Man-
5. Vaidhyanathan R, Venkatasubrama- agement Manual: Ideas, Techniques,
nian V, Dyke FT. HAZOP Epert: An and Resources. Gulf Professional Pub-
Expert System for Automating HA- lishing. 2004; pp. 29-36.
ZOP Analysis. Process Safety Prog. 16. Bahr NJ. System safety engineering
1996; 15(2):81. and risk assessment. Taylor & Francis.
6. Swann CD, Preston ML. Twenty-five New York. 1997; pp. 51-184.
years of HAZOPs. J Loss Prev Process 17. Kolodji BP. Hazard resolutions in sul-
Ind. 1995; 8(6): 349-53. fur plants from design through start up.
7. Earthy JV. Hazard and operability study Process Safety Prog. 1993; 12(2):127-
as an approach to software safety as- 31.
sessment. Hazard Anal. 1992; 9(5): 50-9 18. Shafaghi A, Cook FB. Application of a
8. Khan FI, Abbasi SA. TOPHAZOP: a hazard and operability study to hazard
knowledge-based software tool for con- evaluationof an absorption heat pump.
ducting HAZOP in a rapid, efficient IEEE Trans on Rel. 1988; 37(2):159-
yet inexpensive manner. J Loss Prev 66.
Process Ind. 1997; 10(5-6): 333-43. 19. Pully AS. Utilization and results of
9. Kletz TA. Hazop-past and future. Re- hazard and operability studies in a pe-
liab Eng Sys Safety. 1997; 55(3): 263-6. troleum refinery. Process Safety Prog.
10. Leone H. A knowledge-based system 1993; 12(2):106-10.
for HAZOP studies. The knowledge 20. Reza A, Christiansen E. A case study
representation structure. Comp Chemi- of a TFE explosion in a PTFE manu-
cal Eng. 1996; 36(9): 20-74. facturing facility. Process Safety Prog.
11. McDermid JA, Nicholson M, Pumfrey 2007; 26(1): 77-82.
DJ, Fenelon P. Experience with the ap- 21. Swuste P, Goossens L, Bakker F,
plication of HAZOP to computer- based Schrover J. Evaluation of accident sce-
systems. Computer Assurance, COM- narios in a dutch steel works using a
PASS '95' Systems Integrity, Software hazard and operability study. Safety
Safety and Process Security' Proceedings Scien. 1997; 26(1-2): 63-74.

Habibi E et al: Application of a Hazard

22. M.Mattila, J.Kiviniitty. Job character- 23. Faisal I.Khan, S.A.Abbasi. Major acci-
istics and occupational safety of manu- dents in process industries and an
facturing jobs at different levels of analysis of causes and consequences. J
automation. Intern J Hum Factors Loss Prev Process Ind 1999; 12(5):
Manuf. 2007; 3(3): 243-52. 361-78.