(89a) "Fast Food PHAs" - They're Fast and Cheap but Are They Good for You?

Myers, P. M., Advantage Risk Solutions, Inc
Hazard identification is of critical importance to all process safety and risk management programs, as hazards must be identified before they can be eliminated, controlled, or the associated risks minimized. Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) is used by the chemical process and other industries to identify hazards, with Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) studies an industry-favored technique considered to be the most thorough. Yet, hazards do sometimes go unidentified and this potentially can result in significant consequences and impacts. Following an incident, scrutiny is often first directed at the PHA…was the hazard identified and/or how was it addressed?

How can the chemical process industries improve human performance to have the best chance at identifying and mitigating the significant hazards? Current trends and problems in PHAs are identified from over thirty years of PHA experience as a means to highlight key factors for great PHAs and hazard identification programs. Topics addressed include younger and less experienced PHA leaders, the specialist vs. the generalist, smaller teams and inexperienced team members, team composition and rotating team members, the pressures to be fast and cheap, choosing and applying the best technique for the application, limited technical training, mentoring, leader evaluations, unintended consequences of software and efficiency tools, mental-model mismatches in techniques and decision criteria, doing your homework, problematic reporting, and process safety culture. Case studies are used to illustrate the variability in hazard identification results from the 3-page to the 300-page report, and highlight the impacts of lack of knowledge to arrogance. This leads to a presentation of best practices and supporting tools as a means to improve human performance and as guidance for development and implementation of high quality PHA and hazard identification programs.