Understanding the relationship between Hazard – Risk – Accidents is very important in accident prevention in the workplace.
I will use a pictogram to show the link between Hazard – Risk – Accidents, but first let me review the definition of the parameters (Hazard – Risk – Accidents)
Hazard: Hazard is anything, situation or condition which has the potential to cause harm to people, equipment and environment.
Risk: Risk is the probability that an incident will occur and the severity of the outcome. Risk is graded into low, medium and high.
Accident: Accident is an unexpected and unwanted occurrence which could result to injury to persons, damage to equipment, materials or environment.
The relationship between Hazard – Risk – Accidents is represented thus:
I will use the pictogram above to explain the relationship between Hazard – Risk – Accidents.
First, I want us to have an understanding that hazard most times is a constant. Hazard is always there most times.
Hence in accident prevention, what we do often is that we either eliminate the hazard if possible or block exposure.
I know some persons will disagree with me when I say “Hazards are constant most times”, but I will explain why I say that.
Recall the definition of hazard: Hazard is anything, situation or condition which has the potential to cause harm to people, equipment and environment.
If you look around, there is always a thing, a situation or a condition that could bring harm from you. For instance, a nail inside a tool box is a hazard because it has the potential to cause injury, an over speeding car on the road is a hazard because it has the potential to cause an accident, uneven edge of a container is a hazard because it can cause laceration, none of these will cause accident except someone is exposed to them, but is does not mean they are not there.
Hazard is a complex term which could be analyzed from different angle. Hazard can also be defined base on STATE.
At this point you will agree with me that the salient actor within the chain is EXPOSURE. Without EXPOSURE there is no risk and without EXPOSURE there can never be accident.
This gives us more window in accident prevention. Hence, we can prevent accident by either eliminating the hazard if possible, eliminate the hazard state or controlling the exposure.
Base on the pictogram, BLOCK EXPOSURE then the chain is shattered.
5 Key elements of the risk management process
Hazard and Effect Management Process (HEMP)