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Optimizing Safety: Active Hazard Management with Hazard Logs

In ‘Optimizing Safety: Active Hazard Management with Hazard Logs’ we look at how to unleash the power of this underrated tool!


A Hazard Log is more than just a record; it’s a dynamic tool for actively managing safety risks associated with systems. This continually updated log encapsulates Hazards, Accident Sequences, and Accidents, ensuring a structured approach to risk management. Dive into the world of Hazard Logs to discover their application, advantages, and best practices for effective use.

Active Management with Hazard Logs


A Hazard Log serves as an ongoing record, meticulously updated to capture Hazards, Accident Sequences, and Accidents linked to a system. It acts as a comprehensive repository, providing insights into risk management decisions for each Hazard and Accident.

The Hazard Log is a structured method of keeping and referring to Safety Risk Evaluations and other information pertaining to a piece of equipment or system. It is the primary means of monitoring the status of all identified hazards, choices made, and risk-reduction actions done, and should be utilised to assist supervision by the Project Safety Committee and other stakeholders.

Hazards, Accident Sequences, and Accidents noted are those that could potentially occur as well as those that have already occurred. The title Hazard Log may be deceptive because the information saved relates to the overall Safety Programme and includes Accidents, Controls, Risk Evaluation, ALARP/SFARP rationale, and Hazard data.

Utilization and Administration

Administered by a dedicated Hazard Log Administrator, primary access is granted to add, edit, or close data records. All other personnel have read-only access, ensuring visibility of Hazards while maintaining control. Records are tracked using a status field, indicating stages such as opening, awaiting mitigation confirmation, or ALARP/SFARP justification.

Recording Hazards

Considered best practice, each Hazard is recorded as “open,” with ALARP/SFARP arguments treated provisionally until mitigation actions are confirmed. Hazards are not deleted but closed with appropriate justifications, reflecting changes in relevance.

As an example, suppose the mitigation is contingent on the development of an operational procedure. This may not be developed until far after the Hazard has been discovered in the early stages of design or construction.

Hazards should not be erased from the Hazard Log, but rather closed and labeled “out of scope” or “not considered credible” with adequate justification. If such Hazards are no longer thought to be relevant to the system, the Log entry should be modified to reflect this.

Application in Systems

The Hazard Log should focus on a specified system, detailing its scope and safety requirements. It records the evaluation of Hazards, residual risk assessments, and recommendations for mitigation or formal acceptance with ALARP/SFARP justification.

Because a Hazard Log is an organised method of collecting and referencing data and records on Hazards, as well as documenting the Risk Evaluation and other information relevant to an equipment or system, unambiguous cross-referencing to supporting documentation is critical. The supporting documentation can be directly incorporated in the Hazard Log or cross-referenced.

Establishing a Hazard Log: Why and When


A Hazard Log is crucial for projects, offering traceability in the decision-making process, and justifying the assessed Safety Risk. Initiated at the program’s earliest stage, it remains a live document throughout the system life cycle.

As modifications are implemented in the system, the Hazard Log should be updated to reflect the current design standard by including new or changed Hazards and the associated residual risks. The Hazard Log must be checked frequently to verify that hazards are being managed effectively and that compelling safety arguments in the Safety Case can be created.

Advantages & Disadvantages


The Hazard Log is a traceable record of the Project’s Hazard Management process and thus:

  • Ensures that the Project Safety Programme uses a consistent set of Safety information;
  • Facilitates oversight by the Safety Panel and other stakeholders of the current status of the Safety activities; and
  • Supports the effective management of possible Hazards and Accidents so that the associated Risks are brought up to and maintained at a tolerable level;


  • The Hazard Log could include information about the relationship between hazards, accidents, and their control through the establishment and fulfilment of Safety Requirements. However, if it is not robust or well-structured, this may obscure the identification and clearance of Hazards.
  • If Hazards are not well defined when they are entered into the Hazard Log, the rigour enforced by the need for a clear audit trail of changes made may make it very difficult to maintain the Hazard and Accident records most effectively. Before beginning data entry, an appropriate structure should be created and agreed upon.

Choosing the Right Format: Electronic vs. Paper-Based

Electronic Format

While a Hazard Log can be produced in any format, an electronic format, often in databases like Microsoft Access or SQL Server, ensures quick cross-referencing and traceability. Proprietary tools like Cassandra or spreadsheet packages like Microsoft Excel offer flexibility.

Bespoke vs. Proprietary

Choosing between a bespoke database and a proprietary tool involves considerations of customizability and standardization. A bespoke system may be simple to administer, while a proprietary tool ensures consistency across programs.

In conclusion, Hazard Logs, when actively managed, emerge as indispensable tools for maintaining safety standards and facilitating informed decision-making. Understanding their application and choosing the right format ensures efficient risk management throughout a system’s life cycle.

We will explore more active hazard management in our upcoming blog post using Cassandra as a case study.

That was ‘Optimizing Safety: Active Hazard Management with Hazard Logs’. See another article of my articles on hazard logs here. I hope that you find them useful: leave a comment, below!

My name’s Simon Di Nucci. I’m a practicing system safety engineer, and I have been, for the last 25 years; I’ve worked in all kinds of domains, aircraft, ships, submarines, sensors, and command and control systems, and some work on rail air traffic management systems, and lots of software safety. So, I’ve done a lot of different things!

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