Electrical HAZard & OPerability or SAFety & OPerability (SAFOP) Study

Electrical HAZard & OPerability or SAFety & OPerability (SAFOP) Study is a series of studies that can be used during the various phases of a Power Electrical Engineering Project. These studies are applied to assist in achieving objectives that include,

  • Optimizing the reliability, security, safety and operability of the design to best meet plant/facility objectives
  • Identifying major hazards to different personnel in construction, commissioning and operation of high voltage installations
  • Front Loading the design to avoid waste of time and effort of all stakeholders due to possible rework or major modifications to construction site and to help assure compliance with budget and schedule
  • Facilitate organizational learning by providing a structured process to embed prior learning and experiences in the design
  • Build stakeholder and end user commitment to the design.


Each project is unique in terms of magnitude of investment in the electrical infrastructure, complexity of the electrical system design and setup and the working knowledge/qualifications of team members of all stakeholders in the project.

Four key objective criteria are used for evaluating the requirement to perform a SAFOP for a given project. These are as follows:

  • The estimated magnitude of the overall electrical investment. Larger electrical investments are associated with a larger electrical footprint and a higher electrical risk profile.
  • The electrical complexity of the project; i.e. use of new technology, new equipment or major modifications to existing equipment/systems, design innovation, complexity of system interfaces, impacted utilities and consumers etc
  • The experience and capabilities of the design team in terms of working knowledge of company plant/facilities/standards/operating environment, experience in designing and/or operating and maintaining similar plant and facilities etc
  • The level of standardization with regard to company’s safety culture and work environment

Other, more subjective criteria, may also have relevance in assessing the requirement to perform a SAFOP. These include:

  • Safety environment. The extent to which a high safety electrical awareness exists and safety is a core value in the broader business
  • Electrical Stakeholder Management/Alignment – particularly relevant for Joint Venture and complex stakeholder environments
  • The Regulatory environment and any specific requirements, issues or expectations
  • Building end user commitment by engagement, involvement and opportunity to input and interact
  • Managing / Discharging of company risk particularly where new Design and Construction contractors and/or many vendors/subcontractors are involved
  • Developing a more structured approach to organizational learning


A SAFOP review typically comprises,

  • SAFety ANalysis (SAFAN) which considers the layout of plant and facilities to assess potential hazards.
  • SYstem Security and OPerability Analysis (SYSOP) which considers the way the system is designed to function, reviewing the design and assessing security of supply. It covers the main equipment items and auxiliaries including multiple supplies, on-site generation, changeover schemes, standby generation and UPS systems.
  • OPerator Task ANalysis (OPTAN) which examines probable tasks to be undertaken by local and remote operators during both normal and abnormal conditions

Benefits of SAFOP

Early use of the SAFOP process will minimize potential costs associated with the study outputs. Electrical systems can present major hazards to operation and maintenance personnel if they are not designed with safety and operation properly taken into account.

Report Output

SAFOP report provides a summarized list of acceptance/recommendation/action items with regard to the study carried out using keywords and methodical approach. The report includes worksheets populated with information as gathered during the SAFOP study sessions and although non-binding in nature, provides the project owner with sufficient background knowledge about the implementation of adequate safety in the design and construction aspects of the project and also about the safe operability and ease of maintenance of the installations involved in the project.