Basis of Safety
HAZOP.EU can help define your Basis of Safety for each section of the process, once the potential of a flammable or explosive atmosphere has been determined. The choice of the most suitable Basis of Safety will be determined by technical, operational and of course financial issues with respect to the process in question.
Ultimately, the chosen Basis of Safety must prevent staff, contractors and even members of the public from harm and consequently, it must be based on a sound understanding of hazards identified and the risks associated with these hazards.
The Basis of Safety will involve taking into consideration the following process and operational aspects:
Procedures, Deviations & Human Factors – Safe written operating procedures should be provided by the operating organisation to its staff and contractor personnel who are involved and working not only with the process being operated, but within its associated hazardous areas. How do you know your procedure is safe and if personnel deviate from it, have the risks associated with these deviations been assessed? Incidents may occur because an operator working on a process has unintentionally changed the way the operation is meant to be carried out, or maintenance has been involved which has resulted in a dangerous and unsafe situation being created. An operator can interact with a process in a variety of different ways, which may have a positive and negative aspect on the safety of the process in question. Therefore elements of human factors should always be including when defining the Basis of Safety. For example an operator may observe that equipment or the process is not functioning as intended and stop it, preventing a disaster happening, change a process to work outside its operating conditions, or unintentionally turn the wrong valve, or add the wrong material to the process etc.
Equipment – Whether the equipment is new, modified or upgraded or equipment is changed up or downstream, the Basis of Safety should be defined/redefined through the Management of Change (MOC) process, which will include a hazard identification and risk assessment study.
Material Properties – These need to be defined and understood as per the ATEX and DSEAR Legislation prior to conducting a valid hazard identification or risk assessment. Therefore to define a Basis of Safety for the process, operations, personnel interaction and equipment in question, the materials properties in terms of Ignition Sensitivity, Explosion Severity and the Flammable Range characteristics need to be understood.
Risk Tolerability – No process or operation is totally “Risk Free”. Therefore, it is important to establish the tolerability or acceptability of risk involved with an operation or process under investigation. For example, venting via a vent panel to the external safe area where no personnel or offsite community, which may be affected by a potential vented explosion maybe a valid Basis of Safety. However, if there are no safe areas nearby then venting an explosion may not be a valid Basis of Safety and suppression or containment maybe better suited.
If you would like to discuss how HAZOP.EU can analytically define your Basis of Safety for your process, operation or facility, please do not hesitate to contact HAZOP.EU for an informal, confidential conversation.