What Is a Hazard in Aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS)

A hazard is a risk management concept that identifies:

  • A dangerous condition, such as an object, situation, etc. that could cause harm
  • A state of being that can lead directly to safety mishap
  • A primary contributing factor to safety mishap

Hazards are often confused with Risks (risk occurrence) and Root Causes (hazard mechanisms). Hazard mechanisms are inherently benign actions/objects that can become dangerous (i.e., result in hazard occurrence) depending on the situation. Risks are associated with the actual mishap/accident/damages that (can) result from hazard occurrence. For example:

  • A flock of birds is a hazard mechanism
  • A flock of birds in flight path, close to aircraft, or close to the airport are each a hazard
  • Striking a bird/flock is a risk (risk occurence
What is a Hazard in Aviation SMS

For more information about what a hazard is, and its relationship with hazard mechanism and risk occurence, see this great article on Relationship between a hazard and risk occurrence in SMS