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PT Notes

PHA Practices to Avoid - Vague references

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PHA worksheets contain large amounts of information and some information necessarily must be repeated, for example, consequences that are the same for different causes and safeguards that are the same for different hazard scenarios. Practitioners often use references to speed up the entry of such repeated data.

Commonly, worksheet entries are numbered and references may take the form, for example, Same as 1 or Same as 1.1. Such references can be used temporarily to speed up team sessions and subsequently replaced with the referenced text to make it easier to read the PHA worksheets once a study is completed, or they may be left in place. In the latter case, the numbering scheme is relied upon to guide reviewers to the relevant entries.

However, some practitioners use references such as “See above”, “See below”, “Same as above”, and “Same as earlier node”. At the time such entries were typed into the worksheet, team members likely understood which entries were being referenced. However, weeks or years later, team members are unlikely to know what was meant by the references, and certainly reviewers will not understand them. Other vague references, such as “No new consequences”, are also problematic. The implication is that previous consequences apply but it is not clear which ones.

Practitioners should always check references to ensure they will be understood when PHA worksheets are used after studies have been completed, for example, when managing PHA recommendations, and when studies are peer reviewed, inspected by regulators, or used for PHA revalidation.

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