Exploring risk assessment methods – What-if?, HAZID, and HAZOP – to enhance safety in projects across industries.
Project engineers occasionally ask me to describe the differences between a What-if?, a HAZID, and a HAZOP technique. Although all three hazard identification approaches have been available for several decades, it is critical to understand their methodology as well as the ideal time to apply them based on the project’s development phase.
What-if?, Hazard Identification (HAZID), and Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) are risk assessment methodologies used to identify possible hazards and prevent accidents in various industry projects, as well as to reduce them before they become serious. The following are the key similarities and differences:
What-if? is the most basic of the three approaches, and it is employed in the early stages of a project when there is less knowledge, generally at the conceptual engineering stage. It involves brainstorming sessions in which a group of experts debate various scenarios and identify potential threats. This technique is built on the team’s expertise and experience, and the conversation is focused on the “what if” question.
The HAZID Technique
HAZID is a more systematic technique for identifying hazards during the project design stage, when the flow diagrams have been developed. The primary goal of HAZID is to detect potential hazards, analyze their implications, and recommend effective mitigation strategies. A multidisciplinary team performs this technique, which consists of examining the project design, layout, and operating processes.
HAZOP is a more detailed and systematic technique for identifying hazards during the project’s design and operation stages when the Process and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) have been created. A team of professionals conducts the HAZOP analysis, which involves carefully examining each component of the project to identify potential risks and analyze the consequences. This study is based on a series of guide words that prompt the team to detect potential deviations from the planned design or operation.
The three techniques differ primarily in their methodologies and the stage of the project at which they are used. When there is minimal information available, What-if? and HAZID are used in the early stages of a project, but HAZOP is utilized during the design (FEED) and operation stages of a project when more specific information is available. This will undoubtedly affect the requirements for each of them. The prerequisites for doing a What-if? or HAZID analysis differ according to the project’s complexity and industry. However, there are certain fundamental requirements for doing these investigations effectively:
- Information: The What-if? and HAZID studies require a substantial amount of project information. The material should cover the design, layout, operational procedures, and pre-identified potential hazards for the project. It is critical to have precise and up-to-date information in order to recognize potential threats and appropriately analyze their effects.
- Time: The duration of the What-if? and HAZID studies can vary depending on the project’s complexity and the number of hazards identified. Sufficient time should be allocated to ensure a thorough and comprehensive study is carried out, and all potential hazards are identified.
- Documentation: It is critical to adequately document the findings of the What-if? and HAZID studies. All potential dangers identified, their implications, and recommended mitigation actions should be included in the documentation. A discussion of the project’s design and operating processes should also be included in the documentation.
- Communication: In any What-if? or HAZID study, communication is essential. To ensure that all potential threats are discovered and discussed and that all team members’ concerns are handled, the team should have clear communication channels.
Conducting a HAZOP study, on the other hand, requires rigorous planning and preparation to guarantee the study is carried out effectively. The following are some general requirements for conducting a HAZOP study:
- HAZOP Team: A HAZOP team is made up of professionals from a variety of disciplines, including engineering, operations, safety, maintenance, and design. Team members should have the knowledge and experience needed to recognize potential hazards and assess their effects.
- Information: The quality and accuracy of the information available determines the success of a HAZOP study. The project’s design and operating procedures, including P&IDs, process flow diagrams, process descriptions, and other relevant documentation, should be accessible to the team.
- HAZOP Guide Words: HAZOP studies use a list of guide words, such as “no,” “more,” “less,” “reverse,” “part of,” and “other than,” to assist the team in identifying probable deviations from the originally intended layout or operation. The guidewords serve as a starting point for brainstorming and should be carefully chosen to meet the needs of the project.
- HAZOP Worksheets: HAZOP worksheets are used to document the study’s findings. The relevant process parameters, identified deviations, possible consequences of the deviations, and recommended actions to mitigate the hazards should all be included in the worksheets.
- Facilitator: The HAZOP study should be guided through the study process by an experienced and recognized facilitator. The facilitator should be able to manage the conversations, keep the team on track, and ensure that any potential hazards are identified and documented.
- Communication: In a HAZOP study, effective communication is critical. Team members should be able to properly convey their thoughts and concerns, and the facilitator should guarantee that everyone’s viewpoints are heard and considered.
- Follow-up measures: It is critical to document and prioritize the recommended measures to minimize the identified hazards following the HAZOP analysis. The steps should be followed up on, and their implementation should be monitored, to ensure the safety and integrity of the project.
In summary, conducting a What-If? or HAZID study requires a team of knowledgeable and experienced experts, up-to-date project information, sufficient time, comprehensive documentation, and clear communication channels. Similarly, conducting a HAZOP study requires accurate information, carefully selected guide words, HAZOP worksheets, an experienced facilitator, effective communication channels, and a follow-up plan for implementation.
In conclusion, project engineers must understand the differences between these techniques to decide on the appropriate one for different stages of a project. These techniques can help identify potential hazards early, enabling the project team to take appropriate measures to mitigate them before they become critical and maximize safety.