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Hazard Identification (HAZID): Your Project's ‘Go To’ Risk Assessment

Risk assessments are an important part of any business or project, as it helps identify potential hazards and take steps to mitigate or eliminate them.

However, not all risk assessments are created equal, and some are more appropriate at any given project stage, than others.

One of the most efficient methods of risk assessment is the Hazard Identification (HAZID) process.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why a HAZID should be used before other risk assessments.

What is a HAZID?

A HAZID is rigorous, and like a HAZOP, involves a multidisciplinary group of experts.

It ensures that a wide range of perspectives are taken into account when identifying and undertaking process hazard analysis.

By bringing together a team of experts from different disciplines, organizations can ensure that hazards are identified from a variety of perspectives.

This can help to uncover hazards that may have been overlooked by a single discipline or that may have been specific to a particular industry or sector.

This is particularly important for complex projects where there may be many different systems and complex processes that need to be considered. 

Despite its rigour, it is a relatively simple and cost-effective method of risk assessment, making it accessible to organizations of all sizes.

It does not require specialized equipment or software and can be conducted by a team of experts with a variety of backgrounds.

This makes it a cost-effective and accessible method of risk assessment that can be used in a variety of industries.

When is a HAZID appropriate?

Whether or not HAZID is the appropriate study is generally dependent on two considerations; timing or phase of the project and ‘expediency’.

If we consider timing, it is useful, first, to consider the HAZID study in the context of other hazard identification methods. 

If a project is new, some broad assessment of the hazards can be made using the limited information that is available. 

Before a process has basic details specified, it is generally known that a given set of materials, temperatures and pressures will be present. 

A ‘conceptual’ hazard assessment can then be made and important decisions on the wider details can be made. 

For example, if it is known that the materials are highly toxic and handled at high pressures, we can, early on, minimise subsequent risk by sitting the plant in a remote location. 

The ability to do this early in design means that there is less risk of costly design changes later in the design process.

Once a basic process is established and process flow diagrams (PFDs) are available, before piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), the HAZID is most useful. 

HAZID is a systematic and structured method considering a wide range of hazards and aspects of a project, including design intent, construction, operation, and decommissioning, it aims to uncover hazards that may not be obvious or that may have been overlooked in the early stages of a project.

This is especially important in highly complex projects where there may be a lot of interdependent systems and processes that need to be considered.

HAZID results

The results of the HAZID, the deviations, likely consequences and safeguards identified (whether present or missing) can be used to inform the detailed design, allowing the development of P&IDs. 

Having had the benefit of early hazard identification, these P&IDs will necessarily be better and subject to less costly change subsequently when they are subject to the more detailed and focussed HAZOP (Hazard and Operability Study). 

Its higher level of abstraction means that not only are the major hazards identified quickly, but it aids in project management as it shows where the project is spending its money to eliminate these and also where the best value for that money is obtained. 

HAZID will therefore save time, money and effort as well as improving the overall risk associated with the project.

HAZID and existing processes

If we now look at ‘expediency’, the HAZID is of considerable value when used for existing plant or, depending on the complexity, modifications to plant. 

It has been stated above that the HAZID is a rigorous yet simple method and is therefore extremely useful to apply when looking at individual changes, e.g. through the Management of Change process, and the cumulative effects of significant change over time. 

  • A HAZID review can take place more frequently than a five-year HAZOP study or review, using fewer resources.
  • Whether designing new facilities or examining an existing plant, the HAZID gives good information quickly: 
  • Gives the major hazards first
  • Identifies where additional protections are required,
  • Shows where the company is spending its money on risk reduction measures and where that money is creating the best value,
  • Identifies where additional studies may be required e.g. Human Reliability Analysis, HAZOP, Layers of Protection Analysis,
  • Provides a simple approach without specialist software, however, bear in mind that a suitably qualified and experienced facilitator is required,
  • It is useful in identifying hazards associated with changes in the environment or external factors, such as changes in regulations.

Identify potential hazards with a HAZID

The hazard identification study is a powerful and effective method of risk assessment that can help organizations identify potential hazards and take steps to mitigate or eliminate them.

With the early identification of premature stage workplace hazards, organizations can reduce the likelihood of accidents and incidents and minimize their consequences.

HAZID is a simple, cost-effective, and accessible method of risk assessment that can be used by organizations of all sizes and in a variety of industries. 

Whether used as part of the design phase or during the facility’s lifetime, it is a proactive approach that allows for the identification of hidden or latent hazards and can be used as a basis for more detailed risk assessments.

Organisations that are looking to improve their risk management practices should consider using HAZID as a means to reduce their overall risk.

A HAZID can be completed before a DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations) assessment as it allows for the identification and evaluation of potential hazards associated with a facility or process.

This initial step is important for identifying potential risks and prioritising areas that need further investigation during the DSEAR.

A HAZID can also be used to identify any necessary control measures that need to be put in place to ensure the safe operation of the facility or process, which can be evaluated further in a DSEAR assessment.

Completing a HAZID before a DSEAR assessment allows for a more thorough and effective evaluation of potential risks and the implementation of necessary safety measures.

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