The 4 pros and cons of an online safety study – HAZOP

The 4 pros and cons of an online safety study – HAZOP

June 8, 2020

New situations ask for different solutions. Before ‘the new normal’, meetings were often planned face-to-face, but the working method has drastically changed, and we work online wherever possible. This also affects the safety studies that Yokogawa carries out for companies. Yokogawa Safety specialist Arjan Kroon talks about his experiences with his ‘first’ fully online HAZOP.

Risk assessment for installation and processes – HAZOP

Yokogawa’s Safety Assurance Group has been asked to conduct a HAZOP (HAzard and OPerability study) with a risk assessment for a new package unit to be built with the aim of making risks manageable. The study was carried out by a multidisciplinary team with an experienced facilitator/chairman and it is a good instrument to find out about process safety ‘leaks’ so that process risks can be reduced to an acceptable level.

Normally, the HAZOP team would meet in one room for two days. Their tasks are to identify the hazards and safeguards against them, to make a risk assessment using a risk matrix, and to give recommendations. But because of the government regulations and the delay not being an option due to the delivery time of the package unit, we decided to carry out the study online.

Hazop online picture Arjan Kroon

Arjan Kroon, Functional Safety Specialist

Arjan: ‘This was the first time for everyone to carry out a HAZOP entirely via an online meeting platform – in this case MS teams. Of course, there were reservations about not being able to look each other in the eye and missing the non-verbal communication. In addition, a ‘normal’ HAZOP is already intensive and requires a great deal of concentration on the part of the participants; for an online HAZOP it was expected that this would be even more intensive. Therefore, it was decided to spread this remote version over several days of about 3 hours a day instead of whole days in a row.

After all the sessions were completed, the overall experience was unexpectedly positive. Yes, the HAZOP process was a bit more difficult here and there, especially because changing the screen or drawing is slower. But the participants understood this, and it wasn’t insurmountable. What was especially important was that the client was impressed with the result, in which various process safety risks were discovered that can now be tackled.

As you can feel from my experience, we still prefer to be together physically during safety studies, but if this is not possible, an online HAZOP is certainly an interesting option. Especially for short HAZOP’s, an online meeting can also save costs compared to a physical meeting because there is no need to travel. It is also possible to think of a hybrid solution, where part of the team is together and for example, an expert can be present via an online connection’.

4 advantages of online HAZOP at a glance

  1. No travel times
  2. No travel and accommodation costs
  3. Flexible: multiple locations possible
  4. Possible ‘observers’ can easily watch

4 disadvantages of online HAZOP

  1. Communication is more difficult because of the absence of non-verbal communication and because it is not possible to point to the study documents with some tools
  2. Lower productivity (approximately 70-80% compared to a normal HAZOP)
  3. Additional preparation: distribution of documents should be done well in advance
  4. Internet connections are not always reliable

More information or questions?

All in all, a new experience with which the Safety specialists of Yokogawa’s Safety Assurance Group can still be of service to you in this day and age. If you have any questions or need a facilitator for your safety studies (whether face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online) please contact us via your contact person or via +31(0)88 464 1000 / info@nl.yokogawa.com.

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  1. DELPHIS
    #1 DELPHIS 9 June, 2020, 02:49

    Very good tks

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