Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP): Definition and Tips

Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) is a risk assessment technique used to identify, evaluate, and control potential safety hazards in industrial settings. This process enables organizations to identify and proactively mitigate risks of sudden and unforeseen events that may have a negative impact on the people, environment, or the production process. This blog post is designed to provide an overview of HAZOP and how it can be used to drive safety and reduce risk in the industrial workplace. It will explain the basics of HAZOP and how it fits into an overall safety strategy, as well as the steps involved in conducting a HAZOP. This blog post will also discuss the common pitfalls to avoid when conducting a HAZOP and how organizations can implement best practices in order to ensure successful and effective safety outcomes. Finally, the post will highlight examples of how HAZOP is being used in the industry today and how it can help improve safety, reduce risk, and increase overall productivity in the workplace.

What is a HAZOP? A Crash Course

Benefits of using a HAZOP study

HAZOP studies can evaluate risks in human behavior and performance at work in addition to identifying potential hazards in equipment, facilities, and workplace processes. Regular HAZOP studies may lessen workplace accidents, increase employee risk awareness, and develop appropriate safety measures to safeguard the company and its workers. Recognizing risks can assist a company’s risk management team in developing new safety regulations to safeguard the workforce.

What is HAZOP?

HAZOP stands for “hazard and operability study. HAZOP is sometimes referred to as a method of hazard analysis, a process for managing safety and risk in the workplace. Leaders use HAZOP to research new or existing procedures, processes, and operations to assess the potential hazards in a given environment. The U. S. For different industries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has different hazard analysis standards. Federal law requires you to adhere to OSHA standards specific to your industry, and while the HAZOP process is typically not required by law, it can be helpful when conducting a job hazard analysis.

The following definitions are useful to know when reviewing the HAZOP procedures:


Something that could potentially be harmful is considered a hazard. Hazards can arise at work when operations deviate from established procedures. Hazards could result in property damage, health problems, injuries, or even death. HAZOP studies primarily concentrate on hazards, how to recognize them, and how to develop systems to detect them in order to safeguard a workplace and prevent harm from occurring.


Harm is often the consequence of a hazard. Damage to one’s physical or mental well-being, as well as environmental damage, are all examples of harm. Risk is created by hazards that endanger workers or conflict with rules and regulations for the industry.


Risk is the possibility that someone, somewhere, or something will suffer damage as a result of a hazard. It also quantifies how severe that harm might be. HAZOP studies only evaluate one aspect of risk because they focus on the presence of hazards rather than their likelihood of occurring. The purpose of HAZOP methods is to identify workplace hazards and assess their potential for danger.

A HAZOP team might identify that hypothetical situation as a hazard and note that there is also a risk because there is a possibility that someone could slip on the chemical and suffer harm. As an illustration, if a chemical had a chance of spilling on the ground close to where employees dispense it, they might do so.


The intended characteristics of a design or process are referred to as parameters. They include all the elements that safety experts assess during a HAZOP analysis and describe the circumstances of an operational workplace. Common examples of process parameters include:

For instance, if a chemical plant uses pipes and valves to move chemicals at a specific pressure and temperature, these features have an impact on how well the chemical plant works. As a result, the business may take both pressure and temperature into account when performing a HAZOP analysis.


Deviations are behaviors or results that are not consistent with norms or expectations. A workplace may operate differently due to equipment malfunctions, employee errors, and environmental factors. Deviations are crucial to HAZOP because they can reveal potentially dangerous situations.

A HAZOP team at a chemical plant might, for instance, note leaking pipes as a hypothetical deviation if one is discovered at the Enertech Chemical Plant since normal operating procedures do not include leaking pipes and a leak can be considered a hazard.

Guide words

Team members use cue words or succinct phrases that describe working conditions to guide the HAZOP study. Process parameters and potential deviations from those parameters are described in guide words. Examples of guide words include:

For instance, the HAZOP team would indicate this potential scenario in their study with the guide word “No,” signifying that there is no pipe pressure, if someone were to turn off the pipe pressure at a chemical plant.

How to implement HAZOP in a business

Review the following steps to implement HAZOP in the workplace effectively:

1. Create a HAZOP team

For a HAZOP team to be successful, it is essential to find individuals with a range of specialized skills. The backgrounds of these potential team members may include engineering, maintenance, process design, and operations. Depending on the HAZOP study environment, specialists from other backgrounds may be useful. It’s advantageous for team members to have experience with HAZOP studies, as this can help them comprehend their roles in the study and take into account any potential deviations.

2. Identify elements and parameters

Identifying each step and component of the work process, as well as their operating parameters, is part of creating a HAZOP plan for the entire work process. A team can comprehend where hazards can arise by looking at components and identifying process parameters.

If a company that makes cat toys were to list the components and specifications of their work process, they might mention the following components:

3. Describe potential deviations

By taking into account all potential deviations, you can identify potential hazards once you understand the parameters of workplace processes. Consider the potential deviations that would result from changing the parameters.

For instance, altering the speed of the machinery used to create cat toys may impede production since this machinery functions best at a particular speed. Therefore, in this scenario, a HAZOP team might classify changes in machine operating speed as deviations. They can use this information to assess whether the deviations are risky.

4. Identify hazards and potential problems

Consider all risks that might be associated with each deviation, and evaluate any potential issues. Determine whether there is a risk by imagining what each deviation might result in. Risks can be created by hazards, so properly identifying the hazards may lower the likelihood of risks.

For instance, the HAZOP team considers the effects of the machines operating at higher speeds than usual when considering the cat toy manufacturing equipment. The machine could overheat, which is dangerous because it increases the possibility of someone getting burned or starting a fire. The HAZOP team would list these risks next to their notation for the deviation regarding increased machine speed.

5. Review HAZOP results and evaluate safety protocols

When the study is finished and the findings are available, it’s crucial to address any safety concerns and suggest specific actions to increase workplace safety and avert hazards. This can assist a company in creating and implementing new safety protocols and hazard prevention practices.

For instance, if the machines used to make cat toys have a propensity to overheat, a HAZOP team might advise keeping an eye on them for changes in operating speed and planning routine maintenance.

4 tips to effectively implement HAZOP

While implementing a HAZOP study at work, keep the following in mind:

Identify objectives of the study

Although most HAZOP studies have comparable goals, some may vary depending on the types of facilities in which they are conducted. Here are a few example objectives for HAZOP studies:

Prepare and plan

To create a system that effectively analyzes potential hazards and risks, it is crucial to plan what a HAZOP study needs. While planning a HAZOP study, review the following:

Identify deviations and potential causes

An effective method for detecting deviations and recognizing potential workplace hazard causes is to examine the parameter processes and the guide words that describe the parameters. This could assist a HAZOP team in creating new safety precautions and hazard prevention strategies. For example:

Low is used as a guide word here, and temperature is a process parameter. With this guide word and parameter pairing, “low temperature” is identified as the deviation.

Produce documentation of the study

A HAZOP study can be completed by documenting every aspect of the examinations, reporting risk assessment, and creating documentation that details the teams’ final evaluations. Additionally, a HAZOP study should confirm that the necessary procedures are in place to reduce the risks that the team identified. It’s crucial to change current procedures to ensure safety and reduce risk if a team discovers there are no protection procedures in place.


What is HAZOP example?

In the chemical, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, and nuclear industries, hazard and operability (HAZOP) is a methodical approach to identifying potential issues that may be uncovered by reviewing the safety of designs and revisiting current processes and operations.

What are the types of HAZOP?

HAZOP Example A centrifugal pump is used to add reverse osmosis (RO) water to the batch mixer. Additives are mixed with the RO water. A 33% solution of HCl is added to the mixture of RO water and additives, resulting in a 10% concentration of HCl

What is the difference between HAZOP and risk assessment?

The four types of HAZOP studies that are conducted are: process HAZOP, procedure HAZOP, human HAZOP and software HAZOP.
  • Process HAZOP: Assesses plants and process systems.
  • Procedure HAZOP: Reviews procedures and operational sequences.
  • Human HAZOP: Focuses on human errors opposed to technical failures.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *