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Process hazards analysis

Best practices and overlapping safety regulations, such as OSHA and EPA, require a review of processes containing hazardous materials or conditions prior to start-up. 

This review, sometimes referred to as a Hazardous Operations Analysis (HAZOP), is typically carried out  early in the design phase to identify modifications that support safe operation. 

The HAZOP process employs a mass and energy balance, placing an imaginary envelope around part or all of a process and then asks questions about the process and the possible results; i.e., what happens if the pressure in this line is too high (or too low). 

This systematic approach enables potential safety problems identified by the review team to be discussed and potential solutions developed in terms of design changes. 

Using a risk matrix, all possible solutions are considered until an acceptable reduction in risk is achieved at an acceptable cost.