HAZOP studies

HAZOP (Hazard and Operability) analysis is a qualitative risk assessment tool commonly used where there is a process or system to be examined for any hazard (a potential source of harm to property, people, the environment or an asset) arising from a deviation from the initial design intention. A simple example would be of a hydropower system designed to deliver a flow of water to a turbine but which delivers sediment as well.  

A HAZOP study is usually a combination of academic investigation and prompted brainstorming. At KGAL we lead the process but ensure that all major stake-holders are involved in the team effort such that the broadest range of inputs (specialist knowledge) can be engaged. We favour a team selected according to role and knowledge:­ not to seniority. We look at the core issue from different perspectives: the design to identify weaknesses; the context: the processes either side and the operational and physical environments, and the controls; everything from normal procedural start-up to an emergency shutdown.

We follow the standard methodology of establishing the analysis parameters, the scope and objectives, and the guide words to help focus the safety investigation and determine the questions to which answers are sought during the examination phase. We go on to identify the causes of any deviation, the subsequent consequences and apply a risk ranking to address both the likelihood and the severity. Finally we make our detailed recommendations: (1) how to protect against those consequences, and (2) what design change(s) might reduce the risk or best prevent the initial hazard.

We can apply our skills as part of the preliminary investigation into a proposed system or to refurbishment or modification proposals for existing systems.

The images are of Jersey airport's fire training gound. We were asked by the Jersey Airport Engineering Service to determine any circumstances relating to the design, use and maintenance of the area that might give rise to a hazard or operating problem. Our study reviewd the drench water system, the fire rig, the evaporative cell, the irrigation system and attenuation tanks: all pipework, ignition systems and controls.