Hazard Identification


Why hazard identification should occur early in, but continue throughout, the safety life cycle.


Hazard identification should be done early in safety life cycle, otherwise an unsafe system may be put into use, or costly modifications may be needed to be made to make a system acceptably safe.

The tendency of many safety standards to have particular activities early in the safety life cycle focussing on hazard identification should not be taken to imply that hazards cannot be identified at any other time. This can occur either irregularly as a result of accident investigation or through any personnel bringing to light a new hazard, or more formally as a part of analysing a modification to a system.

In the earliest phases of the safety life cycle, hazard identification may be only partially structured, generally involving a mixture of domain experience, results of accident investigations, and appropriate checklists.

In later phases of the safety life cycle, fundamental methods, such as a Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) study or Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) may be used.

Why?

An adequate hazard identification is a prerequisite to make risk assessment effective and identify the need for any safety requirements.

Aside:

The word "hazard" derives from the Middle English "hasard", a dice game, and may trace back to the Arabic "az-zahr" meaning "the gaming die".