Identifying hazards is fundamental for ensuring the safe design and operation of a system in process plants and other facilities. Several techniques are available to identify hazardous situations, all of which require their rigorous, thorough, and systematic application by a multi-disciplinary team of experts. Success rests upon first identifying and subsequently analyzing possible scenarios that can cause accidents with different degrees of severity. While hazard identification may be the most important stage for risk management, it depends on subjectivity issues (e.g., human observation, good judgment and intuition, creativity, expertise, knowledge) which introduce bias. Without a structured identification system, hazards can be overlooked, thus entailing incomplete risk-evaluations and potential loss. The present Thesis is focused on developing both managerial and technical aspects intended to standardize one of the most used techniques for hazard identification; viz. HAZard & Operability (HAZOP) study. These criteria have been carefully implemented not only to ensure that most of the hazardous scenarios will be identified, but also that US OSHA PSM Rule, EPA RMP, and Seveso Directive requirements will be accomplished. Chapter I pioneers the main research topic; from introducing the process safety concept up to the evidence of more detailed information is required from related regulations. A review of regulations (i.e., US, Europe legislation) focused on Hazard Identification has been conducted, highlighting, there is an absence of specific criteria for performing techniques intended to identify what can go wrong. Chapter II introduces the risk management system required to analyze the risk from chemical process facilities, and justifies that hazard identification stage is the Process Safety foundation. Hereafter, an overview of the key Process Hazard Analyzes (PHA) has been conducted, and the specific HAZOP weaknesses and strengths have been highlighted to establish the first steps to focus on. Chapter III establishes the scope, the purpose and the specific objectives that the research covers. It answers the following questions on the spot: why the present research is performed, which elements are included, and what has been considered for acquiring the final conclusions of the manuscript. Chapter IV gathers HAZOP-related literature from books, guidelines, standards, major journals, and conference proceedings with the purpose of classifying the research conducted over the years and finally define the HAZOP state-of-the-art. Additionally, and according to the information collected, the current HAZOP limitations have been emphasized, and thus, the research needs that should be considered for the HAZOP improvement and advance. Chapter V analyzes the data collected while preparing, organizing, executing and writing HAZOPs in five petroleum-refining processes. A statistical analysis has been performed to extract guidance and conclusions to support the established criteria to conduct effectively HAZOP studies. Chapter VI establishes the whole set of actions that have to be taken into account for ensuring a wellplanned and executed HAZOP study. Both technical and management issues are addressed, criteria supported after considering the previous chapters of the manuscript. Chapter VI itself is the result of the present research, and could be used as a guideline not only for team leaders, but also for any related party interested on performing HAZOPs in continuous chemical processes. Chapter VII states the final conclusions of the research. The interested parties should be released about the hazard identification related-gaps present in current process safety regulations; which are the key limitations of the HAZOP study, and finally, which are the criteria to cover the research needs that have been found Annex I proposes the key tools (tables, figures and checklists "ready-to use'') to be used for conducting HAZOPs in continuous chemical processes. The information layout is structured according to the proposed HAZOP Management System. This information is intended to provide concise and structured documentation to be used as a reference book when conducting HAZOPs. Annex II is intended to overview the most relevant petroleum refining processes by highlighting key factors to take into account in the point of view of process safety and hazard identification, i.e. HAZOP. In this sense, key health and safety information of specific petroleum refining units is provided as a valuable guidance during brainstorming sessions. Annex III illustrates the complete set of data collected during the field work of the present research, and also analyzed in Chapter V of the manuscript. Additionally, it depicts a statistical summary of the key variables treated during the analysis. Finally, the Nomenclature, References, and Abbreviations & Acronyms used and cited during the manuscript have been listed. Additionally, a Glossary of key terms related to the Process Safety field has been illustrated.