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PT Notes

Competency Requirements For PHA Teams

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Process hazard analysis (PHA) plays a critical role in process safety programs. PHA studies are conducted by teams of people and their competency plays a critical role in the quality of PHA studies. Teams lacking competency will produce poor quality studies in which scenarios may be missed or described inadequately, and scenario risks may be estimated incorrectly. Such PHA faults can lead to higher risk being accepted than should be tolerated.

There are few requirements for PHA team members in the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's process safety management regulations. More detailed requirements for participation in a PHA are desirable.

Selection of PHA team members should be governed by a competency management program. Competency implies appropriate qualifications, training, skills, fitness for duty, knowledge and understanding, experience, behavior, attitudes, and physical and mental capabilities, as well as the ability to perform tasks according to defined performance standards.

Both the competency of individual team members and the entire PHA team are important. The ability of the team to perform PHA constructively and cooperatively depends on the interactions of the team members, which, in turn, is a function of the personal attributes of team members, including their personalities, backgrounds, behaviors, and attitudes. Thus, team competency can be controlled by appropriate selection of team members, taking into account not only their competency as an individual but also how their personal characteristics may influence the performance of the team.

A competency management program should address:

  • Responsibilities
  • Competency requirements
  • Team composition
  • Selection criteria for teams and team members
  • Development of competencies
  • Assessment of competency
  • Documentation of competency
  • Maintaining competency
  • Reassessing competency
  • Monitoring competency
  • Defining and using performance metrics
  • Certification of practitioners
  • Continuous improvement

A competency management program for PHA personnel is described in the paper:

Competency Requirements For Process Hazard Analysis Teams, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Vol. 33, pages 151-158, 2015.

The paper can be accessed for free on ScienceDirect until January 30, 2015 by clicking on the link below. No sign up or registration is needed.


Criteria for selecting PHA participants and teams and their application are described in the paper. The criteria cover both technical and personal attributes. Application of the criteria is described and team performance metrics, which can be used to correlate performance with the assessment of competency to validate the criteria and methods used, are discussed.

Team leaders or facilitators guide PHA teams in applying the chosen PHA method. Consequently, they play a critical role in PHA and should be subject to certification requirements. Criteria for certification are described and their application is discussed in the paper.

You may contact Primatech for further information by clicking here.

Click here for information on certification of personnel in PHA. 

Click here for information on a related software tool. 

Click on the links below for information on related training courses:

PHA for Team Leaders

Advanced PHA for Team Leaders

Leadership and Facilitation Skills for Managing PHA Teams

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