Seven items to address with your process hazard analysis

Process hazard analysis (PHA) should provide information that will improve safety and reduce danger from hazardous chemicals. Here are seven items your PHA must address.


Process hazard analysis (PHA) should provide information that will improve safety and reduce danger from hazardous chemicals. Here are seven items your PHA must address. Courtesy: StellarA process hazard analysis (PHA) is just one of the 14 essential process safety management (PSM) elements, but it’s also one of the most important. A PHA is extremely detailed, designed to examine and address potential hazards associated with handling highly hazardous chemicals. Do you have all of your bases covered?

About PHA

Your PHA should provide information that will assist in your plant’s decision making about improving safety and reducing the consequences associated with hazardous chemicals.

A PHA analyzes potential causes and consequences of:

  • Fires
  • Explosions
  • Releases of toxic or flammable chemicals
  • Major spills of hazardous chemicals

A PHA focuses specifically on:

  • Equipment
  • Instrumentation
  • Utilities
  • Human actions
  • External factors that might affect the process

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires PHAs to be updated and revalidated every five years. However, you must update your PHA whenever you alter an item that affects your process. This could include anything from the introduction of new equipment or substances to the elimination of existing equipment or any change that could introduce a new hazard.

When your PHA is examined, an auditor takes about two days at your facility, posing questions to your plant’s refrigeration personnel and engineering teams.

The ‘what if’ methodology

With a PHA, you’re responsible for your own answers. There are a few methodologies you can use when evaluating your process hazards; however, Stellar has found that the “what if” methodology historically works best (as it is faster) for the ammonia refrigeration industry. Through the “what if” approach, “what if” questions are posed about hazard scenarios to elicit answers that show how your plant would address them.

Here’s a sample “what if” question/scenario and answer about a valve.

Question: What if the packing fails on the valve?

Answer: I have trained operators and a PM program. Personnel makes rounds each day to inspect for leaks.

7 items to address in your PHA

After you’ve determined your methodology, you should ensure your PHA addresses the following seven items outlined by OSHA:

  1. The hazards of the process
  2. The identification of any previous incident that had a likely potential for catastrophic consequences in the workplace
  3. Engineering/administrative controls related to hazards, such as the application of detection methods for early warning of chemical releases (Acceptable detection methods might include process monitoring and control instrumentation with alarms, and detection hardware such as hydrocarbon sensors)
  4. Consequences of failure of engineering and administrative controls
  5. Facility siting (the location of various components within the facility)
  6. Human factors
  7. A qualitative evaluation covering the range of possible safety and health effects on employees stemming from control failures in the workplace.

This article originally appeared on Stellar's Food for Thought blog. Stellar is a CFE content partner. Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, CFE Media,

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me