Hazard Analysis

Hazard analysis is a technique used to examine the workplace for hazards with the potential to cause accidents. The information obtained by the hazard analysis process provides the foundation for making decisions upon which jobs should be altered in order for the worker to perform the work safely and expeditiously. In addition, this process allows workers to become more involved in their own destiny. For some time, involvement has been recognized as a key motivator of people. This is also a positive mechanism in fostering labor/management cooperation. This is especially true if everyone in the workplace is continuously looking for potential hazards that can result in injury, illness, or even death.

Hazard analysis is an organized effort to identify and analyze the significance of hazards associated with a process or activity. Doing a hazard analysis will hopefully identify any unacceptable risk faced when in the workplace and determine the options for managing or eliminating those risks. This is why hazard analysis can shine a light on facility or design problems, and unsafe operations that cause property damage, injuries, and even death. Also, once the problems are identified, the company can identify risk management strategies to address them.

This is why when done correctly, hazard analysis helps management and workers identify potential safety issues, discover ways to lower probability of an occurrence, and minimize the associated consequences.

With this in mind, there are many reasons to perform a hazard analysis. Some of the reasons why a hazard analysis is used are as follows:

  • • Be standardized and provide a uniform baseline throughout the organization
  • • Ensure continuity of effort and promote strong leadership
  • • Progressively achieve the objectives set at the beginning of the process
  • • Be both effective and efficient and provide a basis for capital expenditure
  • • Be generic enough for company-wide high- and low-level applications
  • • Produce fast results and have a track record of results
  • • Require minimal data sets and minimal data accuracy at the onset
  • • Be relatively inexpensive (cost effective) to implement
  • • Allow for both logical as well as creative thought processes
  • • Be flexible enough to allow for continuous improvement
  • • Be open ended so it is not limited
  • • Have no culture or demographic barriers
  • • Be suitable for individual as well as group application
  • • Lead to improved communications, motivation, and task focus
  • • Elevate the problem and place it into the correct context
  • • Be rapidly transferable to real-life issues
  • • Support ongoing training and research
  • • Identify the root cause of problem or incident

A hazard analysis is used as the first step in a process used to assess risk. The result of a hazard analysis is the identification of different types of hazards. A hazard is a potential condition and either exists or does not. It may exist on its own or in combination with other hazards (sometimes called events), and conditions become an actual functional failure, accident failure, or accident (mishap). The exact way this happens in one particular sequence is called a scenario. This scenario has a probability of occurrence. Often, a system has many potential failure scenarios. It also is assigned a classification, based on the worst- case severity of the end consequence. Risk is the combination of probability and severity. Preliminary risk levels can be provided in the hazard analysis. The validation, more precise prediction (verification), and acceptance of risk are determined by a risk assessment (analysis). The main goals of verification and analysis is to provide the best selection of means of controlling or eliminating the risk. The term risk reduction is used in several engineering specialties, including avionics, chemical process safety, safety engineering, reliability engineering, and food safety.

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