Layer of protection analysis (LOPA) is a simplified process risk-assessment technique that uses order-of-magnitude estimates for initiating events, consequence severity, and likelihood of failure of independent protection layers (IPLs) to approximate the risk of a scenario. It is generally used after a process hazard analysis (PHA) team has identified a hazard scenario that requires further analysis to ensure the adequacy of the safeguards that exist or are being proposed. LOPA is applied to cause-consequence pairs, one at a time, to evaluate whether the layers of protection meet the company’s tolerable-risk criteria. Layers of protection are safeguards that are effective (they actually prevent the consequence of concern when they function as designed), are independent of the initiating event and components of other layers of protection, and are auditable.
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