The Basics of Recognising Threats

Recognising threats means detecting the dangerous features and events in the operating environment. This includes recognising your own actions and human factors. Human factors can be further categorised in unintentional and intentional.

In security work like self-preparedness, the first step is to recognise the threats. The saying goes that you can’t prepare for something you don’t know about. With that in mind, you need to get acquainted with potential threats. These include:

  • Threat location: icy drive
  • Action that causes the threat: pyrotechnics in a rock concert
  • Natural threats: flood or a threatening animal
  • Unintentional threat caused by a human: leaving the stove on
  • Intentional threat caused by a human: igniting the rubbish bin

Tools for Recognising Threats

You can recognise threats through observation and reflection. Do so in a way that widely engages people in the operation and in the operating environment.

You can do this by using different kinds of keyword lists. For example, you can use one provided by SPEK (The Finnish National Rescue Association), Keski-Suomen Kylät ry (a village association in Central Finland), TTK (The Centre for Occupational Safety), and PK-RH’s PPA (Potential Problem Analysis). Laws, standards, and other regulations also give guidance on recognising threats by going over responsibilities and demands regarding operations and the operating environment.

Previous safety or security incidents are the best indicators for recognising threats. It pays to take into account incidents that have happened both in your own operation and in your peer group’s operations. In some cases, it can be reasonable to use outside help. These cases include locations that are extremely challenging and need special consulting and locations where the safety work has already started and it’s possible to go even deeper.

Recognising Threats Is A Continuous Process

Threat recognition is never finished. New threats can originate due to changes in the environment or the activity. It’s important to recognise the new threats so you can react to them. Changes in the society can also have an impact on the origin of new threats or decreasing previous ones.

Periodic inspections and employees trained in security will help your organisation recognise emerging dangers. It’s also important to create a model for handling recognised threats. The following entries will focus on risk assessment and deepen your know-how.

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