Analyzing, tracking process hazards

Regulatory compliance is driving industry to provide more complete information concerning its manufacturing processes and systems partially because many process industries either use hazardous feedstock or produce hazardous materials. To ensure safe operation of these facilities, OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) rules (29 CFR 1910.


Regulatory compliance is driving industry to provide more complete information concerning its manufacturing processes and systems partially because many process industries either use hazardous feedstock or produce hazardous materials. To ensure safe operation of these facilities, OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) rules (29 CFR 1910.119) mandate documentation of the process and its associated control system design.

It is vital that the control development team be an integral part of a PSM documentation effort, recording how the control system manages a process and the failure modes of the system. All possible control failure schemes must be considered as part of the completed project—a difficult task at best. Therefore, control system plans need to be part of the initial Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) in addition to being implemented and maintained under Management of Change (MOC) program for the process.

Additional help available

To assist, hazard analysis guidelines are available from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Center for Chemical Process Safety (New York, N.Y.). However, to augment these existing resources, Dyadem International Ltd. (Markham, Ontario, Canada) has developed PHA-Pro 5, a software package designed to support Process Hazard Analysis, capturing all required process and control system data. Areas tracked in the software include:

  • PHA team members and their attendance at PHA sessions;

  • Process units and their functions;

  • Safety and environmental hazards associated with each unit, including hazard severity;

  • Installation, operation, and maintainability issues for all control systems;

  • PHA recommendations for safety improvement;

  • All piping and instrumentation drawings (P&IDs); and,

  • Operational procedures.

The program supports all common types of PHA methodologies and comes with basic question libraries for "What if" and Hazard and Operability studies. In addition, these libraries can be edited to create a site-specific template for analysis. This is particularly useful for creating a custom node template for the control system that is in generic form and not addressed in the MOC library.

Another valuable feature for the individual responsible for maintaining the control system is the ability to integrate PHA and MOC activities into one database. A single database places the history of control system decisions in the same tracking environment for implementing changes. Thus, even when original team members are unavailable, the logic behind all control system design decisions and revisions is available in a central location. Because analysis of a process to meet OSHA regulations typically requires several meetings, and a considerable time investment, process developers can use this custom database application to protect against data loss, guarding against the need for data reentry or repeating earlier investigative meetings.

Important security

Because the data are also used for MOC analysis, all database information needs to be secure for the life of the process. To prevent loss of data, the PHA-Pro package has multiple levels of protection specifically intended to provide data integrity.

This review is based upon version of the PHA-Pro 5 package,

Contributing Editor, Tracy J. Coates P.E. is a consulting engineer at PCE Engineering, Johnson City, Tenn.

For more information on PHA-Pro 5, circle 345 or go online at

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.