What is a hazard?

The most common definition of hazard is ‘a danger or risk’ that is associated with something. The hazard has to be able to cause some type of harm or potential harm to either a person or something else in the area. Something can even be considered a hazard if it would be a trigger for causing another hazard to become present, which could hurt someone or something in the area.

When discussing workplace safety there can be hundreds of different hazards that are present and must be planned for. Minimizing the number and severity of hazards in a facility will help to keep everyone as safe as possible, and ensure the facility can remain actively working as much as possible.

Classifying HazardsWorkplace fire hazard

When evaluating hazards in the workplace one of the first things that needs to be done is to have the hazard classified. The response to a danger will be significantly different based on the type of hazard that is present. Some examples of different classification of hazards:

  • Fire Hazards – Anything that has the potential to catch on fire, or cause something else to catch on fire.
  • Biological Hazards – Products that can be dangerous to living things. This could be something that will result in an illness or cause other biological problems.
  • Chemical Hazards – Dangerous chemicals that can have reactions that are dangerous are seen to be very hazardous.
  • Physical Hazards – Anything that has the potential to cause physical damage or injury.

There are, of course, a lot of other classifications that can be used to categorize hazards. It is even possible for one thing to have multiple hazards associated with it. For example, if something has the potential to explode it would be classified as a fire hazard as well as a physical hazard. Properly categorizing hazards will help ensure everyone in the area is aware of the risk, and knows how to best react to it in order to stay safe.


View all Workplace Safety Q&A

5S Lean Guide
Label Samples
Other FREE Resources:

Helpful Resources