Providing Global Process Safety Solutions

Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis (HIRA)

Chemical factoryThe objective of these studies is to reduce the processing risk by operational or procedural improvements. Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis (HIRA), as the title suggests, is a set of studies that identify the hazard(s) of a chemical process followed by the analysis of the risk associated with that hazard. These studies typically address three broad questions to a level of detail commensurate with the analysis objectives:

  • Hazards – What are they; what can go wrong and how?
  • Consequences – How bad could it be?
  • Likelihood – How often might it happen?

Hazard Identification is the crucial first step in a process risk assessment study. Simply put, you cannot undertake risk mitigation activities without performing an accurate and focused identification of the hazards involved in the target process. That’s the “what can go wrong?” part.

Specifically, we facilitate this identification step using a suite of tools including hazard and operability analysis (HAZOP), what-if/checklist or structured what-if (SWIF) analysis, and failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA). These techniques work well for a variety of hi-tech and chemical processing operations that use highly hazardous materials.

Risk Analysis requires a consequence analysis and a likelihood analysis. Taken together these studies permit the identified risks of the process to be evaluated in terms of potential harm to people, the environment, and the assets of the process stakeholder. Tools for simple risk analysis include failure modes, effects and criticality analysis (FMECA), layer of protection analysis (LOPA), and detailed quantitative risk analysis include fault trees and event trees. The risk analysis method used is governed by the nature and extent of the identified hazards.

The work product of a HIRA include:

  • documented understanding of the risks of the process or activity
  • documented risk tolerance criteria
  • possible risk control measures, resolutions, and implemented actions
  • documented understanding of the residual risks after control measures are taken
  • recommendations for improving asset integrity, procedures, and training
  • completed risk analysis reports with action item tracking lists.

The scope of a HIRA is sometimes broadened to include operability issues, so the work product may also include recommendations focused on:

  • improving quality and yield
  • reducing equipment damage
  • reducing unplanned downtime
  • definition of scenarios that emergency response planning must address
  • improvement and enhancement of the management of change program.

Dr. Leggett combines his extensive knowledge of chemistry with diverse chemical process safety experience to provide advanced hazards identification and risk reduction consulting to the chemical, pharmaceutical, and petrochemical industries, both nationally and internationally. We work with clients to improve their process safety management systems using this risk-based process safety approach. Our goal is to assist clients to determine their processes Basis of Safety and Safe Operating Limits.