Report: APP CMHS Project 4

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2.1.7. Hazard Identification

Hazard identification is often described as the most important step in a risk assessment, since what has not been identified will not be evaluated and cannot be managed. From hazard identification, a mine worker should gain a comprehensive understanding of what hazards exist, the range of accidents that these hazards could lead to, and what outcomes these accidents have the potential of causing.

The most important activities with respect to conducting quality risk assessments are to develop and agree on the purpose of the risk assessment and to thoroughly detail the scope. The scope should cover aspects such as the location, boundaries – either physical or notional, scene setting, professional disciplines involved (as relevant) and what is not to be included. The purpose should provide some description of the intended outcome – for instance: to develop a management plan, a standard operating procedure or modifications to an item of plant. It is important to clearly and thoroughly describe the process or system that is being examined. This may be as simple as defining all the steps in a work process or may be as extensive as process flow diagrams for a minerals processing plant.

The common approaches and their brief description are listed in Table 4 and their website addresses are shown in Table 2.

Table 5 Hazard identification techniques



SLAM; Take-5

Variations on the intended discipline of a worker on the job to stop prior to commencing a task, observe the local conditions, assess if the worker has sufficient knowledge and information to safely perform the task, then if all is safe to manage the task in accordance with their level of competence and skill. (Stop, Look, Assess and Manage)


There are many hazard checklists available covering a wide range of types of operation. These can be an effective trigger for considering the range of hazards that may be present.

Incident record

Site or publicly accessible databases of incident history that summarise accidents and near hits that have occurred in hazardous processes.


Audits are structured assessments of systems against established criteria. They provide a third party view of hazards that can be used for the identification and initial appraisal of site hazards and extended into the risk assessment process.

Process flow diagrams

Schematic diagrams of industrial processes that identify process components and energy sources.


The Structured What If Technique identifies potential deviations and hazards using a set of pre-prepared and customised ‘what if’ questions. The questions are often based on the experience of others and therefore have a similar style to a checklist approach.


A relatively unstructured group process, effective at identifying obscure hazards of a type that may be overlooked by the more systematic methods. It can be used to complement other techniques, but should not be used as a replacement.

Table 6 Websites of hazard identification techniques

Hazard Identification technique



Take 5



Process flow diagram

HIRAC Guideline



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