Hazard, Risk and Harm Defined


The HSE has defined risk assessment as

“A careful examination of what, in the workplace, could cause harm to people, so that a decision can be made as to whether the precautions taken are satisfactory or whether more should be done to prevent harm”.

The key terms of hazard, harm and risk have been defined as follows:

  • Hazard: Anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders
  • Harm: includes ill-health and injury; damage to property, plant, products or the environment; and production losses or increased liabilities
  • Risk: The chance, high or low that somebody could be harmed by a hazard, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be