What is the difference between a hazard and risk?

You may have heard about hazard and risk all the time while you are working either in the office or in the field.

Do you really know what the differences between these two terms are?

hazard-and-risk

 Is it easy question?  A lot of the time hazard and risk are freely used as a same thing however it is apparently not.  In oil and gas industry, these two terms are very vital to know and understand.

There are some confusion between hazard and risk.

Hazard can be identified as anything that has potential to cause harm to people, environment, or properties.

Risk is a potential (likelihood and severity ) that hazard will cause harm or damage to people, environment, or properties.

For example, you plan to climb up the ladder so the ladder is a hazard. Climbing up the ladder and falling off is the risk for this task.

Climbing up

Climbing up

Additional example, if you travel by the helicopter to the rig. The helicopter is the hazard and flying the plan in a thunder storm and cashing is a risk.  Last example, you use the hammer to do the job. The hammer is a hazard but using it and injure yourself is the risk.

Now you get an idea about hazard and risk.

Then the question is how to assess it. We will demonstrate you a simple way to illustrate how to assess it.First, we assess how likelihood someone will expose to it. The likelihood depends on probability and frequency of exposure to a hazard. We also assess the likely outcome, the severity or range of potential consequences resulting from the hazard.

Snake in a box

Snake in a box

For example, if we have a snake contained in a closed box, rating the hazard of the snake against the possibility and severity scale will show that the harm to a human life is small. However, if the snake is outside of the box, the possibility and severity change so for this case the snake will be likely danger human life.

Note: we will go through the detailed risk assessment processes later.

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2 Responses to What is the difference between a hazard and risk?

  1. Alan Hippman says:

    Hmm:

    It’s a good idea to raise this topic; unfortunately the clarification is misleading.

    re “Hazard can be identified as anything that has potential to cause harm to people, environment, or properties.” -This is essentially correct.

    re “Risk is a potential (likelihood and severity ) that hazard will cause harm or damage to people, environment, or properties.” – This is not quite right. Risk is the expression of the combination of the probability (or frequency) that an incident will occur, and the consequences which will result, associated with the specific hazard.

    re “For example, you plan to climb up the ladder so the ladder is a hazard. Climbing up the ladder and falling off is the risk for this task.”

    No, this is a poor example. A ladder is not in itself a hazard. It’s a tool. An inadequately designed ladder would be a hazard, a ladder inadequately supported would be a hazard, in both cases these are unsafe conditions. Climbing a ladder without following appropriate procedures would be a hazard, in the sense of being an unsafe act. The risk associated with the unsafe ladder or unsafe use of the ladder is the combination of the probability that it will result in harm and the consequences of this (the severity of the harm). For example, in the case of an unsafe condition, if the ladder falls over and injures someone through unsafe design or instability then this may be low probability and could result in a lost work case; however if a user falls off through poor practice this could be a higher likelihood (for this user) and could have worse consequences, such as a fatality, if it’s a tall ladder.

  2. Prasanna says:

    I accept Allan’s comments.

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