Remotely Performing PHAs in a Quarantined World

With the recent global health crisis temporarily closing schools, restaurants, and businesses, and most of the global workforce operating remotely, it’s easy to wonder whether our world of face-to-face interaction will ever fully return. Though much of the world is quarantined, essential businesses like refineries must find ways to continue their operations as usual, ensuring that their engineering processes like PHAs, HAZOPs, and LOPAs are being completed to ensure the safety of employees, consumers, and the environment. The good news is that performing PHAs, HAZOPs, and LOPAs remotely is an efficient and cost-effective option during these uncertain times. With advances in video calling platforms and the willingness of teams to use more flexible communication platforms, it has never been a better time to host a remote PHA to keep your teams and facilities safe, without compromising quality.

To complete a remote PHA at your facility, it is essential to plan and organize the people and technology you will need to make the analysis a success. This includes arranging any special needs around video-calling and telecommunication, such as additional computers, monitors, and a strong internet connection at each streaming location. It is also imperative to establish a main point-of-contact at each remote location who can troubleshoot challenges around equipment and technology and maintain order amongst their team.

Once you have established the initial team members and technology, the next step in carrying out your remote PHA is preparing your leadership and facilities for the meeting. An example of this is making arrangements for site access, technological support teams, and reserving meeting rooms at each remote location. Additionally, leadership should be communicating with internal teams to pre-define questions and causes that your team can review and focus on in advance. Not only does pre-defining questions and causes improve the completeness of the analysis, but it also facilitates structured brainstorming that will make the remote PHA more productive.

While these are just a few foundational steps for planning for a remote PHA, there are resources available to support you and your team in completing a successful analysis. If you have a PHA scheduled in 2020 and are interested in hosting a remote PHA, Engineering and Technical Associates (ETA) is here to help. For over 20 years, ETA has supported some of the largest refineries in identifying potential hazards, conducting a thorough analysis of all systems and operations, and developing plans and procedures to ensure safety standards are in place in the future. Learn more about how ETA’s PHA experiences and processes can support your facility.