Using Process Hazard Analysis to Improve Safety and Mitigate Risk

March 12, 2015 April Hearne

In any potentially hazardous oil and gas operation, identifying risk is the key to preserving safety. All too often, the companies in charge of such operations fail to properly assess risk, and in doing so they eliminate any chance of early detection. Failing to do so also hinders a company’s ability to put protective measures in place, leading to more downtime, higher costs, and ultimately, a more dangerous work environment.

Process hazard analysis (PHA) is a systematic approach for identifying, evaluating, and controlling the risks associated with operations that involve hazardous petrochemicals. Although OSHA and the U.S. EPA typically mandate that PHAs be conducted before any process becomes operational, there are certain situations where the decision of whether or not to perform a PHA is at the discretion of the owner/operator. It is these situations that can often end up being the most dangerous because operators assume that if they aren’t required by law to do any type of hazard analysis, the process must be inherently safe.

Hazards & Operability (HAZOP) and Hazards Identification (HAZID) are the two most commonly used PHA methodologies. HAZOP is predominantly used to assess process-related hazards, such as those involving specific pieces of equipment. HAZID, on the other hand, is meant more for non-process related hazards, like examining the risks associated with an entire facility/operation. Layer of Protection (LOPA) is also a cost-effective methodology that can be used alongside PHAs, providing a useful blend of both qualitative and quantitative risk assessment.

Audubon Field Solutions provides PHAs and revalidations to mitigate potential safety, environmental, and operability risks. On every project, we conduct a thorough assessment in order to identify opportunities to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents. Our facilitators possess a deep understanding of process safety management methodologies, allowing us to help our clients maximize safety and guarantee compliance with all applicable regulatory frameworks.

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