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Five Ways to Identify Hazards

In my webinar ‘Five Ways to Identify Hazards’ I look at a mix of techniques. We need these diverse techniques to assure us (give justified confidence) that we have identified the full range of hazards associated with a system.

To do this I draw on my 25 years of experience (see ‘Meet the Author‘, below) and relevant standards. Here’s the introduction to the webinar.

Five Ways to Identify Hazards: Video Introduction

Webinar: ‘Five Ways to Identify Hazards’

Four Things to Remember

For hazard identification, we need to be aware of four things.

What we’re doing is we are imagining what could go wrong. And I want to emphasize, first of all, imagination. We need to be open to what could happen. That’s the mindset that we need, and we’re looking at what could go wrong, not what will go wrong. Think about possibilities, not certainties.

The second thing is that it’s very easy to dive down a rabbit hole and get into mega detail about one particular thing and spend lots of time, waste lots of time doing that. That’s not what we need to be doing. We need a broad approach. We need to go wide and think about as many different possible hazards as we can. Don’t dive deep that will come later, the deep analysis will come later.

Another aspect of that point is we’re talking about hazard identification. We’re just here to identify hazards. We’re not here to try to assess them yet.

Yet another mistake that people make is to try and jump straight to fixing the hazard. Many of us watching will be engineers. We love fixing problems. We like to solve problems, but we’re not here to solve the problem yet. We’re only here to identify it. So we’re going to avoid the temptation to jump in and try and come up with a solution. That’s not what we’re doing with hazard identification.

So those are four things to bear in mind.

Five Ways to Identify Hazards

Let’s move on. So I’ve said that this was entitled five ways to identify hazards.

There are, of course, many ways to identify hazards, but I just thought I’d pick on these five because there was a nice broad range of things and things that I can show you how to do straight away.

Those are the five things that we’ve got and we’ll have a slide on each one of those. First, we can ask the workers or end users or their representatives. Secondly, we can inspect the workplace, we can look around for hazards. And maybe we’ve got a real workplace that we can look at or maybe we’ve just got a representation, we can do both.

We can use a hazard identification checklist, we can survey historical data. So all the squiggly lines at the bottom of the screen, there’s an example of some historical data and we can conduct a number of analyses on that.

But the analysis I picked on (Number 5) is Functional Failure Analysis and we’ll see why in just a moment. So those are the five things that we will cover in the next hour. We’ll also have time for a Question and Answer session and then a worked example of how to do a simple Functional Failure Analysis…

There’s More!

This is just one of many webinars in my Safety Engineering Academy. You can see summaries of them all in this blog post.

Meet the Author

Learn safety engineering with me, an industry professional with 25 years of experience, I have:

•Worked on aircraft, ships, submarines, ATMS, trains, and software;

•Tiny programs to some of the biggest (Eurofighter, Future Submarine);

•In the UK and Australia, on US and European programs;

•Taught safety to hundreds of people in the classroom, and thousands online;

•Presented on safety topics at several international conferences.

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