Hazard analysis is at the heart of system safety. It can be described succinctly as “investigating an accident before it happens.” A hazard is selected, such as two aircraft violating minimum separation standards or an aircraft losing sufficient lift to maintain altitude, and then the scenarios that can lead to that hazardous state are identified. Hazards are informally defined here as precursor states to accidents that the designer never wants the system to get into purposely. The resulting scenarios or potential paths to the hazard are then used to compute the probability of the hazardous state occurring or to design to either eliminate the scenarios or to control or mitigate them. Alternatively, after an accident, hazard analysis techniques can generate the potential scenarios to assist accident investigators in determining the most likely cause.
Leveson, N. G.
(2013). Applying Systems Thinking to Aviation Psychology. 17th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 1-7.