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Preliminary Hazard Identification & Analysis Guide

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Introduction

Hazard Identification is sometimes defined as: “The process of identifying and listing the hazards and accidents associated with a system.”

Hazard Analysis is sometimes defined as: “The process of describing in detail the hazards and accidents associated with a system and defining accident sequences.”

Preliminary Hazard Identification and Analysis (PHIA) helps you determine the scope of safety activities and requirements. You can identify the main hazards likely to arise from the capability and functionality being provided. Perform it as early as possible in the project life cycle. Thus, you will provide important early input to setting Safety requirements and refining the Project Safety Plan.

PHIA seeks to answer, at an early stage of the project, the question: “What Hazards and Accidents might affect this system and how could they happen?”

Aim

The aim of the PHIA is to identify, as early as possible, the main Hazards and Accidents that may arise during the life of the system. It provides input to:

  1. Scoping the subsequent Safety activities required in any Safety Plan. A successful PHIA will help to gauge the proportionate effort that is likely to be required to produce an effective Safety Case, proportionate to risks.
  2. Selecting or eliminating options for subsequent assessment.
  3. Setting the initial Safety requirements and criteria.
  4. Subsequent Hazard Analyses.
  5. Initiate Hazard Log.

Description

Perform a PHIA as early as possible in order to obtain maximum benefit. Use it to understand what the Hazards and Accidents are, why, and how they might be realized. A PHIA is an important part of Risk Management, project planning, and requirements definition. It helps you to identify the main system hazards and helps target where a more thorough analysis should be undertaken.

Usually, PHIA is based on a structured brainstorming exercise, supported by hazard checklists. A structured approach helps to minimize the possibility of missing an important hazard. It also demonstrates that a thorough and comprehensive approach has been applied.

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Categories
Mil-Std-882E Safety Analysis

Preliminary Hazard Identification

Want to know how to perform Preliminary Hazard Identification?  This is the first step in safety assessment.  We look at three classic complementary techniques to identify hazards and their pros and cons.  This includes all the content from Task 201, and also practical insights from my 25 years of experience with Mil-Std-882. 

You Will Learn to:

  • Conduct Preliminary Hazard Identification using diverse techniques for best results;
  • Define what Preliminary Hazard Identification is and does;
  • Record Preliminary Hazard Identification results correctly;
  • Contract for Preliminary Hazard Identification successfully; and
  • Apply it early enough to make a difference.
This is the seven-minute-long demo video.

Topics: Preliminary Hazard Identification

  • Task 201 Purpose & Task Description;
  • Historical Review;
  • Recording Results;
  • Contracting; and
  • Commentary:
    • Historical Data;
    • Hazard Checklists; and
    • Analysis Techniques.
Transcript: Preliminary Hazard Identification

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Safety Artisan, where you will find instructional materials that are professional, pragmatic, and impartial because we don’t have anything to sell and we don’t have an axe to grind. Let’s look at what we’re doing today, which is Preliminary Hazard Identification. We are looking at one of the first actual analysis tasks in Mil-Std-882E, which is a systems safety engineering standard from the US government, and it’s typically used on military systems, but it does turn up elsewhere.

Preliminary Hazard ID is Task 201

I’m recording this on the 2nd of February 2020, however, the Mil-Std has been in existence since May 2012 and it is still current, it looks like it is sticking around for quite a while, and this lesson isn’t likely to go out of date anytime soon.

Topics for this session

What we’re going to cover is, quoting from the task, first of all, we’re going to look at the purpose and the task description, where the task talks quite a lot about historical review (I think we’ve got three slides of that), recording results, putting stuff in contracts and then I’m adding some commentary of my own. I will be commenting all the way through, that’s the value add, that’s why I’m doing this, but then there’s some specific extra information that I think you will find helpful, should you need to implement Task 201. In this session, we’ve moved up one level from awareness and we are now looking at practice, at being equipped to actually perform safety jobs, to do safety tasks.

Preliminary Hazard Identification (T201)

The purpose of Task 201 is to compile a list of potential hazards early in development. two things to note here: it is only a list, it’s very preliminary. I’ll keep coming back to that, this is important. Remember, this is the very first thing we do that’s an analytical task. There are planning tasks in the 100 series, but actually, some of them depend on you doing Task 201 because you can’t work out how are you going to manage something until you’ve got some idea of what you’re dealing with. We’ll come back to that in later lessons.

It is a list of potential hazards that we’re after, and we’re trying to do it early in development. And I really can’t overemphasize how important it is to do these things early in development, because we need to do some work early on in order to set expectations, in order to set budgets, in order to set requirements and to basically get a grip, get some scope on what we think we might be doing for the rest of the program. this is a really important task and it should be done as early as possible, and it’s okay to do it several times. Because it’s an early task it should be quick, it should be fairly cheap. We should be doing it just as soon as we can when we’re at the conceptual stage when we don’t even have a proper set of requirements and then we redo it thereafter maybe. And maybe different organizations will do it for themselves and pass the information on to others. And we’ll talk about that later as well.

Task Description

This is the task description. It says the contractor shall – actually forget about who’s supposed to do it, lots of people could and should be doing this as part of their project management or program management risk reduction because as I said, this is fundamental to what we’re doing for the rest of the safety program and indeed maybe the whole project itself. So, what we need to do is “examine the system shortly after the material solution analysis begins and compile a Preliminary Hazard List (PHL) identifying potential hazards inherent in the concept”. That’s what the standard actually says.

A couple of things to note here. Saying that you start doing it after material solution analysis has begun might be read as implying you don’t do it until after you finish doing the requirements, and I think that’s wrong, I think that’s far too late. To my mind, that is not the correct interpretation. Indeed, if we look at the last four words in the definition, it says we’re “identifying potential hazards inherent in the concept”. That, I think, gives us the correct steer. we’ve got a concept, maybe not even a full set of requirements, what are the hazards associated with that concept, with that scope? And I think that’s a good way to look at it.

Historical Review

This task places a great deal of emphasis on the review of historical documentation, and specifically on reviewing documentation with similar and legacy systems. an old system, a legacy system that we are maybe replacing with this system but there might be other legacy systems around. We need to look at those systems. The assumption is that we actually have some data from similar and legacy systems. And that’s a key weakness really with this, is that we’re assuming that we can get hold of that data. But I’ll talk about the issues with that when I get to my commentary at the end.

We need to look at the following…

[buy the video to get the full transcript].

…I’ve talked for long enough, it just remains for me to point out that the quotations from Mil-Std are copyright free. But this video is copyright of The Safety Artisan 2020. And you can find more safety information, more lessons, and more safety resources at www.safetyartisan.com. I just want to say that’s the end of the lesson, thank you very much for listening and I hope you’ve found today’s session useful. Goodbye.

End: Preliminary Hazard Identification

You can find a free pdf of the System Safety Engineering Standard, Mil-Std-882E, here.