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  • 1.  HAZOP

    Posted 02-13-2020 22:39
    Hi. guys. what is your idea as to computer aided HAZOP?

    Han Li
    project manager

  • 2.  RE: HAZOP

    Posted 02-15-2020 09:10
    Computers can augment your HAZOP study by helping to determine consequences, and certainly can be used for documenting the discussions. One should never rely solely on computer generated consequences and scenarios. A competent team should review the results of computer consequence analysis and adjust the study based on their experience and knowledge of the process.

    Jennifer Bitz
    Lead Process Safety Engineer/ Project Manager, CCPS
    League City TX

  • 3.  RE: HAZOP
    Best Answer

    Posted 02-15-2020 13:29
    It depends on what you mean by "computer aided."  The current generation of HAZOP programs are essentially specialized word processors.  As such, they are very useful in providing a table structure with standard deviations for various types of nodes.  They can also provide a standardized way for users to document simple risk analyses, using a risk matrix alone, or using LOPA rules.

    Beyond that, most HAZOP software can offer suggestions to aid brainstorming, such as "typical" causes of low flow in a pipe, or high level in a tank.  A few programs can even enforce rules, such as "no safeguard credit for routine maintenance."  However, humans must still make decisions about which of the typical safeguards are valid risk reduction measures against the specific scenario.  For example, is a spare pump a valid safeguard against low flow?  Perhaps, if the cause is mechanical failure of the primary pump.  Perhaps not, if the cause is loss of power and both the primary and spare pumps are electric motor driven.  Definitely not, if the cause is the flow control valve failing closed.  Computer software generally fails when the developer cannot encode specific rules for all the situations it might encounter.

    Even if there were such a HAZOP program to analyze every possible deviation perfectly based on the design, how would such a program anticipate the Texas City accident?  A good operator sincerely believed that bringing in some "extra" raffinate during startup would better protect the reboiler furnace tubes from damage.  No equipment failed, and no procedure included that step.  It was an undocumented "practice" that had evolved.  Yet 15 people died as the result.  The real value of HAZOP is the discovery of those real world practices during live interaction of diverse experts.  So if your question is whether computers can improve the efficiency of HAZOP preparation and documentation - the answer is certainly yes.  If you are asking whether computers can largely replace the knowledge and insight of a skilled facilitator and knowledgeable team members, I am highly skeptical.

    Donald Lorenzo PE
    Training Solutions
    ABS Group
    Knoxville TN