A process hazards analysis (PHA) is a fundamental part to any company and process. A PHA is a set of systematic steps that are done on an industrial process to assess the potential hazards for a given process. At SMS we are experienced in hazards analysis and have conducted thorough analysis ranging from large scale process down to small scale operations.

Phase 1 Design Hazards Analysis (DHA)
When conducting a PHA there are similar phases to that of creating a new product or designing a new machine. There is an initial concept phase or Design Hazards Analysis (DHA) phase. This phase is mainly based on equipment design, facility, and operational information. In this step the safety related equipment design issues are looked at and addressed. This step takes place before equipment is fabricated or during the fabrication process.

Phase 2 Operational Hazards Analysis (OHA)
The next phase to a PHA is the Operational Hazards Analysis (OHA). As the name suggests, this is a hazard analysis done through startup and into the production step. The OHA is done through an on-site review of operations and special consideration is placed on operational changes as well as operator interaction with equipment and the environment that they are in. A special effort is done to ensure that, not only the PHA, the DHA is kept up to date and that together the Design Hazards Analysis (DHA) and the Operational Hazards Analysis (OHA) can combine to form a finished PHA.

Phase 3 Scheduled Review
As process evolve and change so too should a well designed PHA. Most of these changes are to be done through the management of change program (see 29 CFR 1910.119(I)) but can also be done through a PHA revalidation. Special consideration should be made to keep the hazards analysis up to date and effective. By law, PHA’s are required to be revalidated every 5 years (see 29 CFR 1910.119(e)(6)).

In summary, hazards analysis can be an effective way to prevent accidents and maintain safe working environments for both workers and equipment. Just like care and consideration is done when testing explosives, so too should we take that same care in Process Safety and its analysis.