Difference Between Risk and Hazard

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Risk and hazard are two terms often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. Understanding the difference between hazard and risk is crucial for managing safety and health in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, and healthcare.


Hazard refers to anything that has the potential to cause harm, such as a chemical, machinery, or biological agent. Types of hazards can be physical hazards (such as slippery floors), chemical hazards (toxic substances), biological hazards (disease-causing agents) or related to other factors such as noise, radiation, and so on. Hazards can be present in any workplace, and it is essential to identify them and take necessary steps to control or eliminate them.


On the other hand, risk refers to the probability or likelihood of harm due to exposure to a hazard. Risk is the combination of the probability and severity of the harm that may result. The level of risk can vary depending on various factors, such as the level of exposure, the vulnerability of the person exposed, and the effectiveness of control measures in place.

Difference Between Hazard vs Risk

For example, a potential hazard could be a chemical substance used in manufacturing. At the same time, the risk could be the likelihood of an employee being exposed to the chemical and the severity of the harm that may result. Another example could be a construction worker working at a height where the hazard is falling. The risk could be the likelihood of falling and the severity of the injury that could result.

It is essential to distinguish between hazards and risks because different strategies are required to control each. Hazards must be identified, assessed, controlled, or eliminated to prevent harm. Risk assessment evaluates the likelihood and severity of harm that could result from exposure to a hazard. Based on this assessment, control measures can be implemented to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.


In summary, hazards are anything that has the potential to cause harm. At the same time, risk is the probability or likelihood of harm due to exposure to a hazard. Identifying hazards and assessing risks is essential to implement effective control measures and ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

Without hazard, there is no risk.

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