HAZOP Studies for Mining Industry

Helping to identify unacceptable risks in new plant or process equipment


HAZOP Studies

HAZOP studies are used to identify operational hazards with plant or equipment. So what does HAZOP stand for? It is short for Hazard Operability study.

The studies are usually conducted during the design phase of new plant and equipment. They use a disciplined process to review any operational hazards. For each identified hazards, the design team has to demonstrate that there are adequate controls to address them.

Can anyone facilitate a HAZOP study? The answer is no. They need to be facilitated by competent facilitator. The facilitator must understand the HAZOP process and the plant or equipment being reviewed. Safety Resources Australia has such facilitators who have run HAZOP studies both within Australia and overseas.

HAZOP Study Levels

Generally, HAZOP studies occur during the design phase of new plant or equipment. As such, their timing needs to be when there is sufficient design detail. Best practice is to have two HAZOP studies

  • Study 1 occurs when the concept design is completed and all major equipment has been selected. This study determines if the selected equipment and layout is fit for purpose. As such, it is a high level study. It does not drill down into items that still require further design.
  • Study 2 occurs when the final design is about 80-90% complete. This study is detailed and looks at all parts of the plant or equipment. It also reviews any issues raised in the first HAZOP study.  



HAZOP Team Members

An often asked question is: Who should be on the HAZOP team? The answer is; all the people who need to have an input into the study.  These people include:-

  • HAZOP facilitator;
  • Members of the design team; generally from each engineering discipline and the Project Manager;
  • Client management personnel; as a minimum the supervisor of the area where the new process plant or equipment will function;
  • Supervisors from any sub-contracting organisation that are going to construct and/or install the new process plant or equipment;
  • One or two site operators who will use the new plant or equipment;
  • One or two maintainers who will maintain the new plant or equipment.

The following additional people may be necessary:

  • A scribe to record the HAZOP study results;
  • Human Resources Officer if the new process or equipment requires changes in personnel numbers or skills;
  • External government agency personnel if deemed appropriate or legally required to be included.

The team needs to be the right number to ensure good outcomes, but not too many that side discussions distract the HAZOP study process.

Location of HAZOP study

Where should the HAZOP study be performed? The answer is; at the best location for it. This is:

  • For new process plants it is the designer’s office. This ensures that all design information is readily available. Alternatively, it can be done at the client’s site if the designers bring all required information with them.
  • If it is a modification to an existing plant or process then it is at that site. This allows the HAZOP team members to view the site and become aware of any site issues.
  • Finally, for new equipment for an existing or a new site, there are two options.  If the equipment supplier has a demonstration area, then that is the best location. Alternatively, if the supplier wants to demonstrate the equipment at the client’s site then that would be the best location.

Safety Resources Australia can assist you with the selection of the best location. Contact us today and let’s discuss your HAZOP needs and jointly decide where to do the study.


Scribe or no scribe

Some HAZOP facilitators are very strict and say that they must have a scribe. At Safety Resources Australia we are more flexible. Let’s explain.

The stated reason for a scribe is to reduce the duration of the HAZOP study. Time is money and hence it is a cost consideration. However, our experience has shown that the time reduction is not great. Hence, the cost of a suitable scribe can sometimes exceed any potential cost savings.

Furthermore, the scribe needs to understand the HAZOP study process to ensure accurate reporting. Hence, the scribe cannot just be someone who can type fast; rather they are generally a trainee HAZOP facilitator.

In conclusion, Safety Resources Australia HAZOP facilitators can be facilitator and scribe or work with a scribe. We leave the decision up to the client based on the above.

Contact us

Safety Resources Australia would like to facilitate your next HAZOP study. We have experienced facilitators that have both surface and underground mining methods and equipment experience.

Our experience also includes mineral process plants and other specialised equipment. We have conducted HAZOP studies for a range of mining companies both within Australia and internationally.

Furthermore, our facilitators are qualified Functional Safety Engineers. As such, they are able to understand the Safety Integrity Levels (SIL) of any process plant, system or automated equipment.

Based on the above, why not contact us today regarding your HAZOP Study needs. We can discuss a scope of work, study location and suggested team members.

Let our experienced HAZOP facilitators help you with your project design.

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