Process Hazard Analysis

Unexpected releases of flammable, explosive, poisonous, and dangerously reactive chemicals can result in catastrophic events that can pose a major risk to plant staff, the environment, and the plant community. Federal regulations require that companies have a Process Safety Management program in place, as well as a Risk Management plan:

  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.119 (Process Safety Management)
  • EPA 40 CFR Part 68 (Risk Management Plan)

Companies are under constant pressure from their communities, from the government, and from their competitors to continually improve the safety of their processes. The most essential step in ensuring federal compliance and protecting workers is conducting a Process Hazard Analysis – a systematic and organized series of assessments designed to evaluate the risks of a process.

By implementing a ranking of potential hazards and evaluating process units on the basis of chemical and equipment risk, RFID PASS achieves a qualitative comprehension of plant hazards. From that stage, a quantitative assessment of process risk is carried out to fully characterize the plant’s safety and develop recommendations for improvement.

RFID PASS PHA facilitators and scribes have extensive knowledge of industry codes and standards (API 526, ASME Sec I & VIII, and so on) to assist in identifying and resolving potential safety and operability hazards, as well as major items that may affect the project’s detailed design, schedule, or cost.

RFID PASS’s approach to safety relies on:

  1. Minimization: of amounts of hazardous substances used and employee exposure to chemical hazards
  2. Methodology: implementing the proper training and operating protocols
  3. Design: engineering processes with safety in mind from the earliest stage possible

The most effective risk management focuses on not only standard operation, but also deviant operation as a result of system disturbances such as power failure, mechanical failure, level surges, and so on. Furthermore, it focuses on potential sources of system disturbances, such as human error, instrumentation issues, equipment specifications, and utilities.

The five major methodologies that RFID PASS implements in its PHA studies are as follows:

PHA Methodologies

What if? / Checklist

What if?/Checklist is a qualitative methodology to review a process to identify potentially hazardous events or operation issues that could arise. The method proposes an in-depth series of “What if?” questions, each raising a potential deviation from normal process operation or designed behavior. The assumption with this method is that hazards do not occur if the unit is operating as intended by design.


A Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) is another qualitative methodology that often involves the use of the process flow diagram. RFID PASS inspects discrete units of the PFD (piping, major equipment, and so on) a specifies a Design Intent. The HAZOP team can then identify significant potential Deviations from the design intent, reasonable Causes and the resulting probable Consequences. This methodology is more rigorous than the “What if” methodology, and RFID PASS is well-versed in several HAZOP softwares. RFID PASS provides Facilitators and Scribes to work on a team with a Designer, User, Maintainer, and Specialist to complete the evaluation.


A Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a qualitative method of systematically reviewing all significant equipment, components, and assemblies to identify failure modes, causes of failure, and the likely consequences. RFID PASS FMEA studies are tasked with reducing the likelihood of failure to as near to 0 as possible, while mitigating consequences of failure to the maximum extent possible.


A Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA) is a semi-quantitative methodology that can be used to support standard PHA methodologies by implementing independent layers of protection. This independent layer can be an active or a passive system that specifically detects and prevents/mitigates the consequences of a hazardous event and is independent of the initial cause of deviation from designed behavior or mechanical failure.


A Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) is a deductive methodology using Boolean logic and a top-down approach to determine the probability of a hazardous event due to a single deviation from designed behavior or mechanical failure, or a combination of causes culminating in the undesired event. RFID PASS uses FTA to rank process hazard risks by probability.



RFID & Process Automation Services, LLC

Suite 313
9950 Westpark Drive
Houston, TX 77063

ph. 713.256.0925
fax 713.965.4390