Human-HAZOP studies in the risk management of major accidents

Celeste Jacinto, Paulo Henriques dos Marques

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Human failures are frequently highlighted during the investigation and analysis of major accidents in the process industry. Such failures are likely to occur during operations and/or maintenance activities, or when front-line workers fail to take preventive action to abort the escalation of hazardous events. This work describes a preliminary Human Factors (HF) study, carried out in a process industry plant, operating in Portugal under the requirements of Seveso Directives. The objective was to reinforce previous risk analysis, by incorporating a HF analysis, aimed at identifying the potential for human errors which might either trigger an accident, or fail to prevent the escalation of incidents. The methodology applied was the so-called Human-HAZOP, proposed by the British Health & Safety Executive. The method followed the same philosophy of traditional HAZOP (Hazard and Operability Studies), but the search of hazards and hazardous situations was redirected to find "human failures" and characterise its potential consequences. The study covered the arrival and parking of truck-tankers loaded with flammable solvent(s), and the operation of unloading the trucks and transferring the solvent(s) to land tanks. The results pinpointed a few critical aspects, e.g.: routines and procedures, check-points, vehicle routes, signs and information, communication practices, etc., which can influence human behaviour of employees and /or of workers from suppliers, especially truck drivers. This study allowed concluding that HF analysis is necessary and valuable to complement risk information. It has also demonstrated that small, and rather inexpensive, actions of training can raise significantly awareness of workers, which is a key issue to prevent erroneous actions and promote good practice concerning the management of industrial safety.

Original languageEnglish
EditorsP Arezes, JS Baptista, MP Barroso, P Carneiro, P Cordeiro, N Costa, R Melo, AS Miguel, G Perestrelo
PublisherPortuguese Society of Occupational Safety and Hygiene (SPOSHO)
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-98203-3-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventInternational Symposium on Occupational Safety and Hygiene (SHO) - Guimaraes, Portugal
Duration: 12 Feb 201513 Feb 2015


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Occupational Safety and Hygiene (SHO)


  • Human-HAZOP
  • Human Factors
  • Risk Management
  • Process Industry


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