Project Lifecycle: key stages and its appropriate hazard studies
A safety adviser is responsible in planning and implementing safety measures in order to not only promote a safe working condition but to ensure the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of the employees and people surrounded are taken into consideration. In planning and constructing a major chemical plant involving handling hazardous materials or processes, a safety adviser is expected to be responsible in constructing a safety plan in each stage of project development and to introduce organisational safety structure to ensure maximum safety is assured during operation.
Safety studies or else referred as hazard analysis or identification should be carried out in each phase of the project lifecycle including: conceptual phase, process design phase, engineering design phase, commissioning phase and operation phase. The most practical and crucial safety studies are during the conceptual phase. In this phase, preliminary hazard analysis or Hazard Study 1 is carried out to address possible hazard that may result in the operation. This study includes reviewing the past incident history, collecting the information on chemicals used and checking the compliance of the process with legislation and guidelines proposed for the safety measures in the chemical plants. Hazard study in this phase is important in outlining the hazardous properties of materials used such as its toxicity, flammability, possible environmental hazards or tendency to cause a hazard by interaction with other process materials. The knowledge obtained from the hazard study can be used to achieve inherent safety by eliminating the use of hazardous substances or else by choosing less hazardous materials as an alternative. Hazard study in this phase influences the process outline or chemicals to be used for the operation of the plant.
Once the process selection is finalised in conceptual stage, process engineers will start developing designs to achieve the project goals. In this stage, process engineer lays out options for achieving the plant’s production target. A safety adviser then steps in to re-evaluate hazards on the basis of the outlined process design. Here, safety adviser introduces safety equipments or safety operations based on the plant’s flowrates, inventories and physical conditions of materials used. It is important as hazards can be triggered by temperature of pressure changes of the materials. The possibility of explosions, fire hazards, health exposure, environmental pollution and other physical hazards should be thoroughly looked into by the safety adviser to propose alternative solution or additional safeguards system before proceeding to the engineering design phase. Basically, additional features for safety purposes such as shut-off valves, interlocks, pressure relief systems, and alarm systems on vessels are the example of safety equipments or operations that can be added in the process...