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SAFETY MINUTE
Hazards vs. Danger: Do You Know the Difference?
Important Points
A hazard brings the potential of danger. It is important that employees understand
the difference between hazards and danger. This will make identifying unsafe
conditions and behaviors easier. They’ll also have a better understanding of why the
control measure is in place and why it must stay in place.
• A safety hazard is simply an unsafe condition or behavior that could lead to injury.
• A safety control is the device in place to protect us from risk of injury.
• As long as a control measure is in place, danger need not enter into the picture.
For example:
• For the hazard of moving parts on equipment, we may use guards as the control
measure
• For the hazard of falling from a high level, we may use a fall arrest system as the
control measure
• For the hazard of extreme temperatures, we may use personal protective equipment
as the control measure
Hazard Assessments:
Safety walks and inspections must be done on a regular basis to identify danger, which are
exposed hazards without a control in place. Performing safety walks or some type of
regularly scheduled inspections for hazard identification is an important component of any
HSE management system. When a hazard is revealed, an assessment must be performed
based on the risk exposure and severity.
Severity - How severe could the injury be from the identified hazard? It could be as small as
a pinched finger or as severe as the death of one or more employees.
Exposure - How often is the worker exposed to the potential hazard? It could be extremely
low, such as once per month for few seconds, or extremely high, such as the entire shift.
One common example of this is exposure to excessive noise.
Hazards and danger are not the same thing.
We work and live surrounded by hazards, yet
we are usually not in any real danger. We
live in a hazard rich world, but we don’t give
it much thought due to the safety controls
put in place to protect us.

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Hazards vs. Danger - Do You Know the Difference

  • 1. SAFETY MINUTE Hazards vs. Danger: Do You Know the Difference? Important Points A hazard brings the potential of danger. It is important that employees understand the difference between hazards and danger. This will make identifying unsafe conditions and behaviors easier. They’ll also have a better understanding of why the control measure is in place and why it must stay in place. • A safety hazard is simply an unsafe condition or behavior that could lead to injury. • A safety control is the device in place to protect us from risk of injury. • As long as a control measure is in place, danger need not enter into the picture. For example: • For the hazard of moving parts on equipment, we may use guards as the control measure • For the hazard of falling from a high level, we may use a fall arrest system as the control measure • For the hazard of extreme temperatures, we may use personal protective equipment as the control measure Hazard Assessments: Safety walks and inspections must be done on a regular basis to identify danger, which are exposed hazards without a control in place. Performing safety walks or some type of regularly scheduled inspections for hazard identification is an important component of any HSE management system. When a hazard is revealed, an assessment must be performed based on the risk exposure and severity. Severity - How severe could the injury be from the identified hazard? It could be as small as a pinched finger or as severe as the death of one or more employees. Exposure - How often is the worker exposed to the potential hazard? It could be extremely low, such as once per month for few seconds, or extremely high, such as the entire shift. One common example of this is exposure to excessive noise. Hazards and danger are not the same thing. We work and live surrounded by hazards, yet we are usually not in any real danger. We live in a hazard rich world, but we don’t give it much thought due to the safety controls put in place to protect us.