Retired and Dangerous

Global Congress on Process Safety
April 2, 2012 - 12:00am

“Planning not to retire is simply not a viable retirement strategy.” — Catherine Collinson, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

The Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) process is an important component of a facility's strategy to managing the risks associated with process hazards. The common techniques that are applied to new designs, such as What-If Analysis and HazOp Analysis, are generally applied with consistency and rigor in the Chemical Processing Industries (CPI). In addition, modifications that occur during the “in service” portion of the equipment lifecycle are typically evaluated according to Management Of Change (MOC) practices. However, the quiescent period that follows this “in service” portion of the equipment lifecycle generally receives less attention, but may continue to threaten the business with a variety of risks. Further, this equipment can present unique challenges in terms of managing those risks.

The term “Out Of Service Equipment” (OOSE) encompasses several lesser categories, including those of Abandoned, Decommissioned and Mothballed, all of which are later defined herein. In the absence of a robust and comprehensive OOSE program, process hazards such as fires, explosions, and toxic exposures can remain imminently present or slowly materialize over time, even after the equipment is no longer in-service. This paper examines the hazards associated with OOSE, using short case studies to illustrate the points. Additionally, an approach to identifying and managing the risks associated with OOSE in existing facilities is discussed.

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