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HAZOP Study; Steps To Carry Out A HAZOP Study

What Is HAZOP Study

HAZOP study was initially developed in the 1960s to analyze major chemical process systems, but has since been extended to other areas, including mining operations and other types of process systems and complex systems such as nuclear power plant operation and software development.

HAZOP Study means “Hazard and Operability Study”. It is a risk assessment technique which adopts a systematic way to identify possible hazards in a work process. To carry out the HAZOP study, the process is broken down into simpler sections called nodes and the nodes are individually reviewed; every variation in work parameters is considered for each node, to see what could go wrong.


HAZOP Study Objective

The aim of the HAZOP study is to find potential situations that could cause the element in a process to pose a hazard or limit the operability of the process as a whole.

Why You Need HAZOP

  • Help check a design for possible failures and avoid them early.
  • Guide to decide whether to buy a piece of equipment considering the safety implications of the equipment.
  • Help to obtain a list of questions to put to a supplier when inquiring about a material/equipment.
  • Help to improve the safety of existing facilities.

N/B: This study could be done for a fresh process or an existing process.


Read AlsoRisk Assessment

Steps To Carry Out A HAZOP Study

To have a successful HAZOP study, four (4) cardinal steps will be involved, these steps include:

  1. Form a HAZOP team: This team should be made of specialist, not newbie. Know that having a faulty HAZOP is worse than not having it at all.
  2. Identifying the individual elements of the system: Here individual elements in a process is identified which will be analysed and reviewed. The piping and instrument diagrams (P&ID), or a plant model is mostly used to identify the element of the system.
  3. Considering possible variations in operating elements: Here variation are considered for the different element. It always consider “What if” something goes wrong and there is a deviation from the normal working.
  4. Identifying any hazards or failure points: At the point, the result of the variation (Deviation for normal) is considered, putting into consideration the already available controls.


Read Also6 Methods of risk assessment you should know

HAZOP Study Report

The result of this study, after identifying the hazards or failure point is what will determine the next action.

In case of a fresh process, this result may guide in the type of equipment to acquire, or a total change in the work process.


In an ongoing process, the system can be modified to improve its safety.

Who Are The Members Of The HAZOP Team

The HAZOP team is expected to be led by an experienced HAZOP facilitator. Other members could be, personnel from Process, Instruments, Machines, Project Engineering, and Operations. It also require the involvement of process technologists, environmental specialists and corporate Health & Safety and Environment (HSE) staff for some parts of the work, etc.


Read AlsoHow to use the risk assessment matrix effectively


HAZOP Training

To be skilled in this study, you must get trained. Check out for HAZOP trainer in your area.

It is mostly a two (2) days training. This course will introduce you to the Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) methodology, essential training if you need to plan, organize, write or manage a HAZOP study.

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