What Is Predictive Risk Management?

Predictive risk management is the process of performing risk management activities on hypothetical hazards, risk events, and/or consequences. Predictive risk management is an attempt to account for hazards and risks that can potentially occur in a given situation. Predictive risk management is especially useful during safety actions like safety cases and change management. 

There are many misnomers about predictive risk management, namely that it is the most "advanced" form of risk management. Aviation SMS programs need to be clear about the different types of risk management activities, and use them accordingly.

Predictive activities for risk management are based on:

  • Normal operational data, such as by understanding where in regular operations your organization is most exposed; and
  • Potentialities that have not already occurred.

Many large online resources discuss the need to “shift” from reactive to predictive risk management. This seems to imply a false notion that predictive is a “better” form of risk management than reactive or proactive. This is not true. "Moving towards predictive risk management" simply means adopting predictive activities as a part of your risk management repertoire.

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What Are Predictive Risk Management Activities

As said, the two most common predictive activities for risk management are:

  1. Management of change; and
  2. Safety cases.

Both of these activities are regularly used in well-developed safety programs and involve:

  • Analyzing current operations;
  • Identifying new hazards;
  • Identifying new risks;
  • Implementing controls to prevent these potentialities; and
  • Analyzing controls for “substitute risk.”

Some common tools for risk management that is predictive are: