Prevent and mitigate process hazards and safety risks with our expert PHA services
Effectively managing process hazards in the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, metal, pulp and paper, wood, food, and process industries has wide-reaching benefits for all stakeholders, including the employees, contractors, and the public. A Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) helps prevent injury, loss of life, and property and environmental damage that can result from industrial activity and is a primary tool for compliance with regulations such as OSHA 29 CFR 1910.119 (e). PHA is a proactive and structured approach by chemical process operations to understand what can go wrong, how likely it is to go wrong and what steps are necessary to prevent or mitigate undesired consequences.
Our process safety specialists with strong industry background can help you select the PHA method best suited to your specific processes and operations. With many years of experience in process safety, we are well heeled with the complexities of hazards analysis. We can assist you in accumulating the necessary process safety information including hazardous materials properties such as combustibility, flammability, explosivity, reactivity, self-heating, toxicity, electrostatic properties as well as assembling and leading the PHA team and drawing up reports and documenting outcomes.
As part of our focus on empowering our partners in matters of process safety, we offer in-house workshops to train employees to manage risk and be effective PHA leaders.
Practical solutions are at the heart of our approach. From offices around the world, our experts focus on each client’s particular situation, taking both a holistic and an individual view of PHA implementation. Services are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic and Hindi, among others.
A complete range of PHA methodologies
Our specialists are experienced in the full suite of process hazard analysis methods, including checklists, what-if checklists, Hazard and Operability Studies (HAZOP), Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA) and more. As each PHA method has pros and cons as well as varying scope and application, consulting with one of our experts before making a choice contributes significantly to the overall success of your PHA.
Whatever PHA methodology is chosen, the first phase of the analysis is dedicated to gathering all the applicable safety information about the materials handled, the chemical process and conditions, the control methods employed, and the equipment and systems use. The applicable safety information relevant to the targeted process are gleaned from Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s), laboratory testing, design manuals, operating procedures, and equipment manufacturers/suppliers.
Next, a team is assembled under the guidance of an experienced, knowledgeable leader which includes members with diverse experience and expertise to examine the process in search of inherent hazards and operating risks such as fire, explosion, and the release of materials or energy. During the PHA exercise for each hazard identified the team examines the existing safeguards that prevent or mitigate the undesired consequences in addition to proposing new measures should they be required.
The final critical aspect of the PHA effort is to provide adequate documentation of the analysis, its findings and recommendations. A risk management plan must follow the PHA in order to ensure that effective follow-up and closure occurs.
FAQ - Process Hazard Analysis
Process Hazard Analyses (PHAs) comprise a wide range of methods and require a certain level of preparation. We have assembled a selection of typical questions and answers to assist you in getting ready for the process, knowing what to expect and deciding on the right approach for you.
What are the steps for preparing for a PHA?
- Determine the scope and scope limitations
- Gather process safety information, including sample testing as needed
- Establish team composition, including a team leader who is “knowledgeable in the specific PHA methodology being used” ([OSHA)].
- Provide the team with PSI several days prior to the first meeting,
- Schedule the meetings for not more than four hours per day, such as two hours before and after lunch.
What are the different PHA methods?
- Hazard and Operability Analysis (HAZOP), based on ”nodes” in the P&I diagrams, or steps in the operating procedure
- Failure Modes and Effects Analysis
- Fault Tree Analysis [FTA]
What are the criteria for selecting a PHA method?
- Inherent hazards of materials
- Status of the process ([development, or design, or in operation)]
- System complexity
- Availability of a previous analysis
- Applicability of good codes, standards, and RAGAGEP to the scope
- Availability of excellent site/corporate experience, such that a well-organized What-If will likely extract all process safety issues
Do not apply a more-complex method such as HAZOP to a well-defined system that is “covered” by good codes and standards such as a flammable liquid tank farm. Do not apply a more -complex and extreme-effort-intense method such as a FTA or a QRA unless there is a “criticalprofound” decision that has to be made concerning the safety of a process.
What are the must-have qualifications of a PHA team leader?
- Expertise and experience in PHA methodology
- Excellent understanding of the science of hazardous materials and the consequences of releases (could be brought to the team by a subject matter expert)
- Good understanding of “unit operations” and the uses and functions of typical process equipment
- Good people skills to manage the team and develop consensus
- Good organizational skills to organize and document the effort
What makes a PHA great?
- Appropriate methodology
- Correct application of the methodology
- Appropriate team composition including subject matter experts as needed
- Excellent documentation that includes why a specific method is appropriate
- Executive summary that summarizes why the operation is safe and what major opportunities for improvement exist
- Good team participation
- Well defined recommendations
- Site follow-up with documentation of recommendation closure, with attachment to the PHA report