SPE 120735 - Why We Don't Learn All We Should From HAZOPs

2010 Summary, Howard J. Duhon, SPE, GATE, and Ian Sutton, AMEC Paragon

During the last 15 years, the process industries have made dramatic improvements in occupational safety. Recordable injury rates have dropped by close to an order of magnitude (Pitlblado 2008). Accurate information pertaining to progress in process safety in the same time period is not available. However, it is likely that improvements in process safety are not nearly so great (Sutton 2010).

From its beginnings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, hazards analysis has been a key item in all process safety programs. After all, if hazards are not identified, they cannot be remediated. Of the various hazards-analysis techniques, the Hazard and Operability Method (HAZOP) has probably gained the greatest acceptance. Therefore, if the process industries are to achieve the same levels of success in process safety as they have in occupational-safety improvements, the effective use of HAZOPs is probably going to be of central importance.

This paper discusses some of the cognitive, social, organizational, and procedural factors that limit the effectiveness of projects in general and of HAZOPs in particular. From this discussion, insights can be developed that can provide ideas for improving the HAZOP process and process-safety-management systems in general.

Source: SPE Projects, Facilities & Construction, Volume 5, Number 2, June  2010