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3 Tips for A Successful HAZOP Study


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


Advanced HAZOP Masterclass


What is HAZOP?

A Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) study is a structured and systematic risk management technique for existing process or operation. It is used to identify and evaluate risks to personnel or equipment. HAZOP is often used as a technique for identifying potential design and engineering issues that may cause potential operability problems. The HAZOP team lists potential causes and consequences from these issues. If existing safeguards fail to meet the criteria, the team recommends the action be taken to reduce the risk. HAZOP’s meticulous approach is commonly used with chemical production and piping systems.

A HAZOP study is performed by an interdisciplinary team of experts including engineers, process designers, design consultants, vendor specialists, facilities managers, production managers and safety officers. HAZOP’s meticulous approach requires a team with relevant expertise and knowledge. Otherwise, frequent mistakes when doing a HAZOP study include poor time management, incomplete process safety information and incorrect size of HAZOP team.


Here are 3 tips for a successful HAZOP study:

  1. Set reasonable deadlines to conduct HAZOP
  2. Selection of experienced HAZOP team
  3. Proper identification of nodes


  1. Set reasonable deadlines to conduct HAZOP

Due to the systematic and in-depth approach of HAZOP studies, it is a time-consuming activity that requires ample time set aside for it to be done properly. A HAZOP study cannot be rushed, and management must set acceptable timelines and allocate the proper resources for it to be successful. The duration of these studies depends on the number and complexity of the design changes to be reviewed and the experience of the HAZOP team. HAZOP sessions may have to be conducted for 8 to 10 hours each day.


  1. Selection of experienced HAZOP team

The HAZOP team need to be representative of the process and have adequate knowledge and skills in the different stages – mainly design, operation, commissioning, safety, shutdown and maintenance of the plant. If HAZOP is performed by a less-experienced team, all hazards may not be identified. The team could generate recommendations that management may find difficult to accept. It is also important for the team to have a HAZOP team leader who can effectively manage the HAZOP study sessions, keeping in mind the HAZOP study objectives and the agreed timelines.


  1. Proper identification of nodes

Before beginning a HAZOP study, specific points of the design to be reviewed are divided into nodes, or study nodes. At each of these study nodes, deviations in the process parameters are examined accordingly. Nodes need to be properly identified by the HAZOP team leader, with assistance from the process engineer. This would aid in the success of the HAZOP study.


Overall, the success or failure of the HAZOP depends on several key factors such as the completeness and accuracy of diagrams and other data used as a basis for the study, the technical skills and insights of the HAZOP team, the ability of the team to effectively utilise the HAZOP methodology and lastly, the ability to focus on the serious hazards which are identified.


Useful Resource:


Advanced HAZOP Masterclass is a 3-day training course held from 23-25 October 2019 (Kuala Lumpur), where refresher topics of HAZOP such as bowties, swiss cheese and LOPA, the human factors and the limitation of HAZOP and its operability are discussed. Participants will learn about the roles and responsibility of HAZOP team members and leaders, as well as participate in exercises on how to pick the best approach to safety study depending on different scenarios.

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