The process that will be applied during a SAFOP review of the electrical installation will normally involve the implementation of three studies, by a multi-disciplined team of engineers.

Each of these studies is specifically structured to aid identification of deficiencies in the design of the electrical installation and remedial actions to address them:

  • The functioning and operation of the system and its components (SYSOP)
  • The plant layout and accessibility (SAFAN)
  • The operability of the facilities (OPTAN)


System Security and Operability Analysis (SYSOP)

The SYSOP study examines how the electrical system operates. It considers the components and auxiliaries and how they fulfil the requirement to prevent or minimise hazards and production losses during commissioning, start-up, operation and fault conditions.


The SYSOP study assesses:

  • The protection and control schemes provided
  • The potential for, and consequences of failure, mal-function or mal-operation of the equipment
  • Deficiencies in the design of the electrical installation that affect both the operability and maintainability of the system



Safety Analysis

The SAFAN study examines the physical layout and accessibility, constructability and maintainability of electrical equipment and related facilities and assesses the potential for hazards to arise to personnel who are to operate, work on, or be in the vicinity of, the facilities.


The SAFAN study includes an assessment of the suitability of the equipment to operate in the intended environment.


The emphasis of the study is on assessing the adequacy of the physical layout and specification of the equipment and associated facilities (fences, walkways, lighting etc) with the aim of ensuring that the installation will not give rise to danger, that maintenance work on the installation can be carried out safely and removal of main equipment for reasons of main overhaul or repair is feasible.

During the assessment the possible impact of the work on the existing facilities and the associated risks/mitigation measures will be covered in detail.


It is not the intention to review all equipment specifications, but to identify any onerous or unusual environmental conditions to which the equipment might reasonably be subjected and to verify that the equipment is suitably specified for these conditions. Verifying the adequacy of the design of specific safety related features on specific items of equipment is not part of a SAFAN study, this being an exercise requiring physical inspection of the equipment.



Operator Task Analysis (OPTAN)

The OPTAN study examines the tasks that operators of the electrical system require to undertake during normal and abnormal conditions, and assesses whether adequate facilities are provided for these tasks to be performed safely and without error. 


The study addresses the adequacy of operator interface facilities, procedures, training, authorisation and similar issues that have a bearing on the ability of the operator to carry out the required tasks and to do so safely and without error.


The study further assesses the organisational structure and number of electrical staff required to operate and maintain the electrical system


Normal timing of the SAFOP

A SAFOP study of the design and operation of an electrical system is normally implemented at the specification and detailed engineering stage of a project to install new facilities.

The SAFOP will follow a structured review process using guide and prompt words. The findings and recommendations will be recorded by the secretary in specific worksheets. The findings of the SAFAN will be ranked on the basis of a risk matrix (impact and likelihood of occurring).


Connect, organize and get things done to keep your IT business safe.


Connect, organize and get things done to keep your IT business safe.