Hazards & Risks
A hazard is anything the has the potential to cause harm to the health or safety of a person. There are different types of hazards in the workplace such as:
- Chemical: Gases, vapours, mists, dusts, fibres, corrosives, toxics, irritants, sensitizers
- Physical: Noise, heat, cold, vibration, light or illumination
- Biological: Bacteria (e.g. Mycobacterium tuberculosis), viruses (e.g. HIV), animal products, plant materials
- Radiation: Ionising, non-ionising, UV, IR, X-rays
- Ergonomic: Manual handling, stretching, standing, posture, display screens, work stations, visibility, repetitive motion
- Psycho-social: Stress, work hours, travel, diet, bullying, excessive expectations, sexual harassment, racial or religious intolerance, culture
- Safety: Trip, slips, falls, electrocution, violence
A risk is the likelihood that this harm will actually occur under the prevailing work conditions and the extent of the effects (consequences).
Examples of workplace risks are:
- Removing asbestos insulation material from inside a factory boiler without the appropriate personal protective equipment
- Manually lifting heavy sacks of material for a large part of the workday
- Operating noisy machinery without hearing protective equipment
- Cleaning xylene spillage using a mop without any personal protective equipment
Continue to a simple model for performing an Occupational Health and Safety risk assessment.