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Hazard Discovery Techniques

(Alias: Hazard Analysis)

Reason is the slow and tortuous method by which those who do not know the truth discover it.
                     - Pascal

Quoted in The General Theory of Love p 112

Hazard discovery is the process of helping a group of people to apply their personal knowledge and expertise to identifying what could go wrong with a system. The table provides a checklist of memory joggers to stimulate discovery thought processes.

# Discovery Strategy Description
1 Past history of safety incidents Review safety incident reports, hazard logs, hazard analysis reports, lessons learned from project closing reviews and trouble reports.
2 Existing hazard analysis Examine previous hazard analysis of similar systems.
3 Published hazard checklists Review standards and codes of practice that might refer to known hazards that have caused accidents in the past.
4 Energy sources and energy flows Examine the basic energy sources, energy flows and high energy items in the system together with the provisions for their control.
5 Hazardous materials Consider the storage and management of hazardous materials such as fuels, propellants, lasers, explosives, toxic substances, pressurized systems ...
6 Interface hazards Look for hazards arising from incompatibilities in interfaces:
  • Mechanical interfaces using incompatible materials
  • Inadvertent or dangerous activation, contamination
  • Errors in interface design that can cause failure in safety-related interfacing components (software)
7 Performance under stress Look at all possible system uses and modes of operation in all environments. Identify loads that will place the system under stress with the potential for failure.
8 Human-machine interface Examine the modes of interaction between humans and the automated equipment. Identify the potential for operational errors due to non intuitive or ambiguous user interfaces.
9 Off-normal mode transitions Look for the potential for accidents in transitions to non routine operational modes. Startup, restart, shutdown, testing, trials of new methods, breakdown, maintenance, repair, inspection, troubleshooting, modifications, changeovers, adjacent system change, nonstandard input, stresses (including budget, schedule, delays and catch up), and adverse conditions.
10 Scientific/technical investigation Investigate the physical, chemical and other properties of the system which may involve theoretical studies and small scale tests.
11 Stepwise process evaluation Go through the process of startup operation and shutdown in a step by step manner, attempting to anticipate what might go wrong and how the affects of an incident can be avoided or mitigated.

Member Comments


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RE Definition: Hazard Discovery Techniques


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