What is the difference between a hazard and a risk?

Hazard: A situation or thing with the potential to cause death, injury or illness.

Risk: The likelihood that death, injury or illness might occur when exposed to a hazard.

Eliminating a hazard will also eliminate any risks associated with that hazard.

What is a hazard?

A hazard arising from a work activity can be defined as a situation or thing that has the potential to cause death, injury or illness to a person.  The Act states that hazards also include a person’s behaviour where that behaviour has the potential to cause death, injury or illness to a person (whether or not that behaviour results from physical or mental fatigue, drugs, alcohol, traumatic shock, or another temporary condition that affects a person’s behaviour).  Hazards at work may include: hazardous substances, vehicles, plant and equipment, falling objects, repetitive movements, fatigue, bullying and violence at the workplace, and falls, slips and trips.

What is a risk?

Risk is the likelihood that death, injury or illness might occur when a person is exposed to a hazard. Risks must be managed by taking action to eliminate them, and if that is not reasonably practicable, minimising them.

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