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This short animation addresses the relationship between two important terms in health and safety management, Hazard and Risk. Many people struggle to grasp the difference and relationship between these terms, often misplacing them when talking about the risk that actually exists in a specific environment.
When we’re dealing about risk of any kind in the workplace, we need to first understand the hazards that exist in our surrounding environment.
In many countries, including the UK, there is a legal obligation in place for employer’s to ensure the health and safety of their employees. The Health and Safety at Work Act underpins the requirements here in the UK.
The difference between hazard and risk is very often confused. It is important to understand the relationship between the two terms and how they should be applied. Once you’ve grasped the concepts of hazard and risk, make sure to check out our resource on risk assessment.
Difference between hazard and risk - let’s look at an example…..
A water cooler on the shopfloor has a leak. This has created a puddle on the floor which is now a slip hazard. If we do not do anything to remove or control this hazard, there is a significant risk that someone could slip and injure themselves.
On the other hand, if we had identified the potential for harm (hazard) and put suitable and simple control measures in place, such as barriers. The chances of someone coming to harm (risk) would now be low.
So although the hazard still exists, the actual risk would be reduced to an acceptable level.
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