Risk Management – Hazard Identification

ICAO Doc 9859 defines “safety” as “the state in which the risk of harm to persons or to property damage is reduced to, and maintained at or below, an acceptable level through a continuing process of hazard identification and risk management”.

Obviously, hazard identification is important but how do you actually identify a hazard?

Hazard Identification

Let’s start with a definition. ICAO Doc 9857 defines a hazard as a “Condition, object or activity with the potential of causing injuries to personnel, damage to equipment or structures, loss of material, or reduction of ability to perform a prescribed function”. I am not sure whether that makes things clearer. Maybe a hazard could be seen as something, that if it occurs, will hurt someone or damage something.

Driving in the streets of Jakarta is certainly a hazard.

Hazards are not necessarily a bad thing – what is bad is not knowing what hazard you face in the operations you conduct. For instance, wind as a natural occurrence is a hazard to aviation safety in certain circumstances. If the wind is blowing straight down the runway, then operations will not be affected and in fact may be enhanced. However, if the wind is blowing across the runway, then the cross wind becomes a problem which may have certain consequences and will need to be controlled or mitigated.

Hazards can be caused by environmental, technical or economic factors. Hence to identify hazards, an organization needs to look at factors such as:

  • the design of the system or service
  • procedures and operating practices
  • communications, including means, terminology and language
  • personnel factors, such as company policies for recruitment, training, remuneration and allocation of resources
  • organizational factors, such as the allocation of resources, operating pressures and the corporate safety culture
  • work environment factors
  • regulatory oversight factors, including the applicability and enforceability of regulations; the certification of equipment, personnel and procedures; and the adequacy of oversight
  • defences, including such factors as the provision of adequate detection and warning systems, the error tolerance of equipment and the resilience of equipment to errors and failures
  • human performance in operating the system or service.

In terms of identification of hazards faced by an organization in conducting it’s roles, information can be collected from safety reporting systems, feedback from training, surveys, audits or reports.

A good place to start is with a workshop consisting of a broad group of people. The workshop could be used to focus on a specific hazard or to identify any hazards known.

Once the hazards are identified, they need to be analysed. A simple process for hazard analysis is:

* Identify the generic hazard
* Breakdown the hazard into specific hazards or components
* Link each specific hazard or component to a specific consequence.
* Document the work

An example of hazard identification from ICAO Doc 9859. An international airport that handles 100 000 movements per year launches a construction project to extend and re-pave one of two crossing runways. The following three-step hazard analysis process would apply:

  1. Step A. State the generic hazard
    — airport construction
  2. Step B. Identify specific hazards or components of the generic hazard
    — construction equipment
    — closed taxiways, etc.
  3. Step C. Link specific hazards to specific consequence(s)
    aircraft colliding with construction equipment (construction equipment)
    — aircraft taking off into the wrong taxiway (closed taxiways).

Source  :  dephub




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