Do you remember HAZOPs?

There will be many in senior positions within process-led manufacturing companies that will recall attending 'HAZOP' sessions earlier in their careers. 'HAZOP' stands for HAZard and OPerability analysis, and it was created as a concept in the 1960's by people at ICI who were concerned about the safety hazards posed by the increasing size and complexity of their chemical plants. It was then adopted by many other companies in the 70's when the IChemE 'wrote the book' on the process following the Flixborough disaster. Lorien Engineering Solutions deliver HAZOPs to meet the need of 21st century problems - in a wide range of industries.

In some people's eyes HAZOP is a process they will remember, but perhaps not actively participate in, or support within their organisations. They may also consider it inappropriate for their business's needs. At Lorien however, we are finding a re-emergence of the use of HAZOP as an effective tool to interrogate the design of process systems, and not just on chemical processing. We have seen HAZOP delivering benefits to processes as diverse as food ingredient conversion (cooking, mixing, filling), dairy production, brewing processes, pharmaceutical dose formulation, and plant utilities. Recently we have also been involved with waste composting facilities, waste-to-energy (CHP) plants, and even dosing systems for public swimming pools.

Lorien's HAZOP champion Andy Cooper says, "The expected outcome of a HAZOP is the identification of process and operation risks, rated to prioritise actions. However another huge bonus that's happened on every HAZOP that I've facilitated is the increase in knowledge about the process including those who designed it, and people who have worked with it - for decades sometimes."

For Lorien, HAZOP is only one tool in the bag of techniques used to monitor design, and to positively influence the safety and operability of systems. Andy comments, "We started out developing our HAZOP approach to meet the broad requirements of our food, drinks and pharmaceutical customers, but along the way we also developed other tools such as FMEA (failure modes and effects analysis), Safety and Operability Reviews, DSEAR/ ATEX gap studies, HAC (hazardous area classification), CE-Marking for machines and complex assemblies, and PUWER assessments.

Today we are busier than ever delivering facilitated HAZOP sessions, which is good for our clients businesses in terms of managing their risks."