REID OUR BLOG

Hazards vs Risks – What’s the Difference?

We live in a world full of hazards that have the potential for causing injuries, damage to property, loss of materials, or reduce our ability to perform. The key word is potential for hazards. We hardly recognize many significant hazards because we are so used to accepting them in our daily activities. I’ll use driving a vehicle as an example, but the application of these principles can be used in everything we do.

Driving has multiple hazards which can change with location, roadway type, vehicle type, driver ability, environmental conditions and even time of day. We live with those hazards and try to control what we can. We also tolerate the aspects we can’t control, such as the actions of other drivers. But what can we do about hazardous conditions, like snow and ice on the road? We can’t control that… or can we?

Calculating the Risk

It is not uncommon to hear people in Seattle say it’s too risky to drive in the snow. So, is snow and ice on the road a hazard or is it a risk? What’s the difference?  To begin, snow is the condition that has potential consequences, and that is the hazard.  Snow and ice reduce tire traction leading to reduced operator control.  Some possible outcomes (consequences) of reduced control are sliding off the road, or into other cars causing damage and injury. Risk is the probability and the severity of those outcomes.

It is also true that the risks are either acceptable to you, or not. It’s a choice. People in colder climates drive in snowy conditions all the time, mostly without consequence but in Seattle in similar conditions many will decide stay home because they do not have that confidence in their experience, ability, or vehicle. How do you make that choice?

Hazard or Risk? What about Consequence?

In our modern usage the words Hazards and Risk have almost become synonymous. But there is a distinction that we should be aware of and knowing the difference can help bring clarity to your decision making.

  • Hazard – Condition or object with the potential of causing injuries to personnel, damage to equipment or structures, loss of material, or reduction of ability to perform a prescribed function
  • Consequence – Potential outcome(s) of the hazard
  • Risk – The assessment, expressed in terms of predicted probability and severity, of the consequence(s) of a hazard taking the worst foreseeable situation.
    • Probability is the likelihood that an unsafe event or condition might occur. In many ways this can be intuitive, as the probability of sliding off the road is higher during snow and ice conditions than it is when the road is dry.
    • Severity is the possible effect of the unsafe condition in a worst foreseeable situation. If your drive to work is relatively flat and straight the severity of sliding off the road may lead to a damaged fender, wounded pride and some insurance hassles. If your drive to work is along a windy steep slope above an ice filled river, the outcome severity of sliding off the road may be catastrophic.

A single Hazard (Snow on the Road) can have multiple Consequences, (Slide off the road, collision with another car, getting stuck) and each potential Consequence can have multiple Risks associated with it as well. Risks may be monetary (insurance rates, damage repairs, medical bills), Risks may be reputation (bad driver in snow, lack of trust), Risks may be health (injuries, recovery, death), or Risks may be the ability to continue operations after the fact, especially by definition following a catastrophic event.

The Risk of driving to work in the snow is the combination of likelihood and severity. Either that risk is acceptable to you, or it is not.  Some think of risk as a purely economic decision.  Does the cost of a hazard’s consequences when combined with the likelihood and severity outweigh the gain to be found by accepting the risk?

Anyone who has ever been a teenager understands making poor decisions because they don’t take a moment to first evaluate the potential adverse outcomes. My parents called it a lack of impulse control, and I was no exception. The lack of judgement, experience, and fore-thought make being a teenager a hazard in itself.  What they lack are the tools for making better decisions.

A Decision Chart

A Risk Matrix chart can be that tool.  It can help to visualize the concept of Risk and provide a scoring system to understand the level of Risk involved with every day activities.

If the Risk score is anywhere in the Red, it wouldn’t be prudent to continue until additional measures and controls can be in place to reduce the severity and probability to acceptable levels. If the Risk score is in the yellow, you may continue with the moderate risk, but further controls and monitoring would be advisable. If conditions worsen, or controls aren’t effective, the risk may move back up to the red zone.  If the Risk score is in the green the risk level is acceptable and you can proceed as planned. That’s not to say that something bad won’t happen, because we can never eliminate bad outcomes, but if it goes south on you the consequences would most likely be acceptable. The potential gains outweigh the risk involved and the existing controls and mitigations are sufficient to keep the risk manageable.

Whenever you create a control to mitigate a risk to an acceptable level there is a cost. If you’re willing to drive in the snow, but want to reduce the risk of losing traction, you might decide to put chains on your tires. Anytime you introduce a control to reduce risk there is a cost, but the costs should be as low as reasonably possible. Chains alone won’t guarantee you arrive at your destination in a snow storm, but with a moment of consideration for the conditions, hazards, and risks involved you’ll improve the chance of surviving the day intact. And sometimes the prudent choice is just not to do anything until conditions outside of your control improve.

Safety Decision-Making

Improving safety, no matter what the task or situation, involves systematic approach of identifying the hazards, anticipating potential consequences, assessing the probability and severity to determine your Risk Score, and weighing that against your appetite to accept that risk.  And that’s the difference. A hazard is the condition that exists. A hazard has potential consequences. The Risk is the probability and severity of the worst foreseeable consequences.  What you do with that information is determined by your risk appetite.

59 Comments

  1. seo outsource

    Contract the amazing video marketing currently now available in addition at great prices today!

    Reply
  2. best white label seo

    Get Services From the amazing search engine optimization specialist that’s now available in addition on sale today!

    Reply
  3. GPS Receiver

    Get great synchronized clocks for schools that’s currently available and now in stock and at the best price get it today only!

    Reply
  4. get more info

    Get profesional wireless public address system currently currently available and in stock in addition at great prices get it today only!

    Reply
  5. PA speakers for businesses

    Buy high quality wireless pa system for schools that’s currently available and in stock and at the best price get it today only!

    Reply
  6. clocks for businesses

    locate great school pa system that are currently available and in stock in addition at the best price get it today only!

    Reply
  7. seo reseller pricing

    Get Services From the fantastic search engine optimization currently currently available and on sale today!

    Reply
  8. seo outsource services

    Get service from the fantastic seo outsourcing services that is now available in addition at the best price today!

    Reply
  9. message boards for offices

    Get great pa system for school currently currently available and in stock and reasonably priced get it today only!

    Reply
  10. synchronized Hospital clocks

    Get great wireless pa speakers that is currently available and now in stock in addition at great prices get it today only!

    Reply
  11. Check It Out Here

    Buy great synchronized clocks that’s currently available and in stock in addition on sale get it today only!

    Reply
  12. PA systems for schools

    Buy great school bell scheduling systems that is currently available and now in stock and at great prices get it today only!

    Reply
  13. clock synchronization wirelessly

    Save on profesional wireless pa system that are currently available and now in stock and reasonably priced get it today only!

    Reply
  14. check it out here

    locate profesional School bell system that’s currently available and in stock and on sale get it today only!

    Reply
  15. wireless clocks transmitter

    Buy great School bell system that are currently available and in stock in addition on sale get it today only!

    Reply
  16. wireless clocks sync

    Save on profesional wireless pa speakers that is currently available and now in stock in addition at great prices get it today only!

    Reply
  17. FCC wireless license

    Save on high quality wireless buzzer system for classroom currently currently available and now in stock and currently available get it today only!

    Reply
  18. clock synchronization wirelessly

    Get profesional wireless pa system for schools that are currently available and now in stock and reasonably priced get it today only!

    Reply
  19. check it out here

    locate high quality synchronized clocks for schools that’s currently available and in stock and reasonably priced get it today only!

    Reply
  20. synchronized Hospital clocks

    locate profesional wireless buzzer alarm that’s currently available and now in stock in addition on sale get it today only!

    Reply
  21. clock synchronization wirelessly

    Get high quality school bell system that is currently available and in stock and on sale get it today only!

    Reply
  22. elapsed time clock for operating rooms

    Buy high quality wireless public address system that is currently available and in stock and currently available get it today only!

    Reply
  23. public address transmitters

    Buy high quality synchronized clocks currently currently available and in stock in addition on sale get it today only!

    Reply
  24. wirelessly synchronize clocks

    Get high quality synchronized clocks for schools that’s currently available and in stock and at the best price get it today only!

    Reply
  25. click here

    Buy great synchronized clocks for schools currently currently available and now in stock and reasonably priced get it today only!

    Reply
  26. clock movement

    Purchase top quality clock movements currently available and now available in addition at the best price get it now, today only!

    Reply
  27. clock building videos

    Purchase high quality clock parts that are available and now available in addition reasonably priced get it now, today only!

    Reply
  28. parts for clocks

    Buy high quality battery operated quartz clock movements that’s available and now available in addition reasonably priced get it now, today only!

    Reply
  29. read more

    Buy the best quality clock mechanism kit that are available and in stock now in addition on sale get it now, today only!

    Reply
  30. parts of a clock

    Get top quality clock building kit that are available and in stock now and reasonably priced get it now, today only!

    Reply
  31. read more

    Buy high quality clock inserts that are available and now available in addition reasonably priced get it now, today only!

    Reply
  32. quartz clock fit-ups

    Purchase top quality clock kits that’s available and now available in addition at great prices get it now, today only!

    Reply
  33. clock repair videos

    Buy high quality clock Kit that’s available and in stock now and at great prices get it now, today only!

    Reply
  34. clock making replacement parts

    Purchase top quality replacement clock parts that’s available and now available in addition reasonably priced get it now, today only!

    Reply
  35. clock mechanisms

    Get high quality clock movement kit currently available and in stock now and at great prices get it now, today only!

    Reply
  36. metal clock dials

    Buy high quality clock kit manufacturer that are available and in stock now in addition reasonably priced get it now, today only!

    Reply
  37. Clock repair parts

    Get top quality best quality quartz clock movements that are available and in stock now and at great prices get it now, today only!

    Reply
  38. best clock movements

    Get top quality clock making kit currently available and in stock now and at the best price get it now, today only!

    Reply
  39. clock motor suppliers

    Purchase the best quality clock building kit that’s available and now available and at the best price get it now, today only!

    Reply
  40. clock building videos

    Buy high quality clock movements that is available and now available and at great prices get it now, today only!

    Reply
  41. outsource seo company

    Get Services From the fantastic wordpress search engine optimization that is now available and at the best price today!

    Reply
  42. see here

    Contract the amazing search engine optimization service currently now available in addition at the best price today!

    Reply
  43. see this

    Contract the amazing seo outsourcing that’s now available in addition reasonably priced today!

    Reply
  44. outsourced seo

    Get Services From the wonderful search engine optimization agencies currently currently available in addition on sale today!

    Reply
  45. seo services

    Contract the fantastic seo consultant that’s currently available and reasonably priced today!

    Reply
  46. best seo outsourcing company

    Contract the wonderful youtube marketing that is now available and reasonably priced today!

    Reply
  47. accessories for clocks

    Get high quality replacement quartz clock movements that’s available and in stock now and at great prices get it now, today only!

    Reply
  48. parts of a clock

    Get top quality clockpart currently available and in stock now in addition on sale get it now, today only!

    Reply
  49. white label seo outsourcing

    Get Services From the fantastic online business marketing that is now available in addition reasonably priced today!

    Reply
  50. best seo reseller

    Contract the wonderful outsource seo that’s now available and on sale today!

    Reply
  51. get info here

    Get service from the amazing online marketing that’s currently available and at the best price today!

    Reply
  52. outsource seo link building

    Contract the fantastic wordpress plugins that’s currently available and at the best price today!

    Reply
  53. seo outsourcing company

    Get service from the amazing see here that is currently available and at great prices today!

    Reply
  54. outsource seo projects

    Get Services From the wonderful youtube marketing that’s currently available in addition at the best price today!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *