What is a hazard log?
A Hazard Log is the document collecting all safety management activities, hazards identified, as well as solutions and decisions taken. It is the most important component of a safety management system for every railway project.
The development of the Hazard Log begins in the first phases of the life cycle and remains alive throughout the cycle, being constantly updated with the emergence of new threats, in order to control, manage and track these hazards. Depending on the type of project in question, the scope, the organizational structure and the contractual obligations, the amount of Hazard Logs that a project must carry out will be determined. However, it is of the utmost importance that the different Hazard Logs be linked to each other, across different disciplines, systems and subsystems.
Structure of a Hazard Log
Once safety management is planned, hazard analysis will begin with a Preliminary Hazard Analysis (PHA) and with Hazard Identification (HAZID). It is essential to establish a clear, structured, hierarchical and flexible Hazard Log in order to support the hazard analysis throughout the life cycle of the project. The following table includes all the fields that a clearly structured Hazard Log should contain, along with sample values for each field, as follows:
Responsibility and ownership of a Hazard Log resides with the person responsible for guaranteeing the safety of the project or its equivalent (usually the RAMS Director of the project). This owner will be responsible for managing danger from the time it is first identified to its eradication. It will be also his/her responsibility to choose the software that a project must use to create a Hazard Log. As we mentioned above, a Hazard Log is a live and updated document. For that purpose, it must be maintained using Microsoft Excel or specialized programs such as IBM Rational DOORS. Depending on the complexity of the project, one of the tools shall be chosen.
Generation of a railway Hazard Log
Creating a Hazard Log is a process beginning with some preliminary steps to ensure the existence of an adequate infrastructure for its development. As we have already pointed out, a Hazard Log can be generated from different tools. Therefore, the first step to be performed is to determine the appropriate method to generate the Hazard Log. Secondly, it is important to appoint an administrator who will be responsible for maintaining, updating and setting up the Hazard Log. Finally, the Hazard Log is established, including activities such as risk classification, state definitions and other general activities to ensure that the operation of the Hazard Log is appropriate.
Once the initial steps will be completed, the information entry process will begin, starting with the following steps. The first step to be carried out is hazard identification, which can be obtained from the Preliminary Hazard Analysis (PHA). Hereafter, an accident sequence associated with the hazards identified in the previous step must be developed. Likewise, a risk assessment must be carried out for each sequence of accidents. The next step is identifying the mitigation, that is, registering the one which is appropriate and that has been agreed upon for each accident. For this, we also indicate the persons being in charge of controlling the mitigation, understood as the mitigation of possible risks.
Subsequently, a cross-check must be performed to detect other hazards or accident sequences related to the hazard in question. The next step is resolution, that is, changes in status must be completed as planned and formal closures must be recorded. In addition, ongoing hazards must be handled, and new hazards must be added.
Finally, a risk registration report must be generated, as determined by the project safety plan.