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Operating Procedures

Operating procedures provide guidelines that, if followed, will control hazards at an acceptable level of risk during operation of a system.

Operating procedures should:

  • be prepared with worker input
  • undergo review and approval by the safety authority
  • be field validated, i.e., by physically walking through the procedure’s steps prior to release
  • specify that modifications to the procedure or system must be documented and verified. See Management of Change
  • be readily available to all personnel
  • be reviewed and updated periodically


Operating procedures should define:

  • who is authorized to operate the system and what required training they must have
  • what personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn when performing specific tasks. See Personal Protective Equipment 
  • how to make the system leak tight and fully operational before use
  • how to prevent unwanted mixing of hydrogen with an oxidizer such as air. See Purging
  • how to verify the system is operated within design limits for temperature, pressure, and stress
  • what to do in an emergency. See Dealing with Incidents


Checklists that reflect the requirements written in the procedures are recommended as tools to help operators follow the necessary steps. Some specific items on a checklist might include confirming that:

  • leak detection and fire alarm systems are in working order
  • maintenance records are up to date
  • specific equipment is properly prepared for operation
  • valves are properly positioned for start-up and operation
  • required PPE is worn by personnel
  • operating parameters are within safe limits


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