Autopro Blog

Justifying the Value, Need, and Importance of HAZOP and LOPA

March 03, 2016

by


February's webinar, Basics Risk and Safety Instrumented Systems, resulted in some excellent questions being asked by participants. Here's one that we thought would be especially informative for many of you.

Question

If an oil and gas facility has never had either a LOPA or HAZOP (or no record of such, for example) how should one proceed with justifying the value, need and importance of implementing them? Or how best to approach this?

Answer

Start with the facts

One approach is to start by gathering the facts. Although no HAZOP (hazard and operability study) and LOPA (layers of protection analysis) has ever been implemented in the oil and gas facility you are referring to, perhaps some other form of hazard identification and assessment has been practiced?

HAZOP and LOPA are two amongst many other methodologies of identifying hazards, the associated risk, and the means to eliminate or control them. There is no obligation to use these methodologies in particular. A company may choose to use different methods and, depending on the type of process or in case of a project the stage at which it may be, other techniques may be more appropriate.

This being said, HAZOP and LOPA are quite widely used.

Hazard identification and assessment regulatory requirement

As far as the need and importance of implementing at least some form of hazard identification and assessment, our government has already made the decision for us. The Alberta OH&S 2009 code mandates that:

  • An employer must assess a work site and identify existing and potential hazard before work begins at the work site or prior to the construction of a new work site.” (part 2, clause 7(1))
  • An employer must ensure that the hazard assessment is repeated…” (part 2, clause 7(4))
  • If a hazard exists an employer must take measures to eliminate the hazards, or if elimination is not reasonably practicable, control the hazard.” (part 2, clause 9(1))

It is very important for you to be aware of this without however throwing the code in the face of the decision makers. I think the key here is education.

There is great value in understanding the risks people and the environment are exposed to at a facility. Having never done any form of hazard and risk assessment leaves one wondering about how much risk the personnel at the facility and environment are exposed to every day.

Ignorance is bliss until something happens!

These exercises also help with the development of standard operating procedures to address some specific issues uncovered by the hazard identification and risk assessment activities. Some simple operating procedures can save tens of thousands of dollars in extra down time. There are many other advantages to implementing these activities within a good process safety management program.

I’ll finish with a famous quote: “There’s an old saying that if you think safety is expensive, try an accident. Accidents cost a lot of money. And, not only in damage to plant and in claims for injury, but also in the loss of the company’s reputation.” (Trevor Kletz)

Autopro’s functional safety experts will work either as single analysts and facilitators or with their partners within multi-disciplinary teams to conduct process hazard analyses, layer of protection analyses (LOPA), and safety integrity level (SIL) assessments. Please bnou%60bu%21tr if you would like additional information on these or any of our other services.