Hazardous v High Risk

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speshtiny
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Hazardous v High Risk

Post by speshtiny » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:01 pm

I am going through some safety policies for a new company I work for. The question I ask is that in the policies they have put Hazardous activities. Me on the other hand like the word High Risk as hazardous seems more uncontrolled. It's like we are putting persons in harm’s way. So, if an activity is risky (i.e. Rock climbing), do you put Hazardous or High Risk? Or am I being petty and either will do?

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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by Siblo » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:18 pm

Hi Spesh,

Personally, I'd call an activity or process "High Risk" and a situation or area "Hazardous"

Hope that helps

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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by bernicarey » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:32 pm

In some respects, it's semantics, however it also hinges on the correct understanding of HAZARD and RISK.... to give an example....

If I'm talking Risk Assessments, this is one of my props....
This is a Hazard...
20181005_151738.jpg
But it's not a significant hazard, as it's not connected to anything.
So it doesn't need a Risk Assessment

I then plug it into the wall socket (switch off)...
It's still not a significant Hazard...
I switch it on...
Now it's a bit more significant as the flex is live, but there's no way for me to touch a live conductor.
But worthy of a Risk Assessment, as to why this cable is switched on....

If I were to remove the connector block from the earth core, it's not increased the hazard level any...

BUT, if I remove the connector block from the Live Core, it's now a potentially lethal Hazard...

So something can be a Hazard, without being a Risk.

To use your Rock Climbing example.
Yes, it's a Hazard, but the degree of Risk varies greatly, depending on whether you have all the ropes and equipment you could possibly use, or you're free climbing....
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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by speshtiny » Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:07 pm

thank you all for your responses.

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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by Blackstone » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:26 am

bernicarey wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:32 pm
In some respects, it's semantics, however it also hinges on the correct understanding of HAZARD and RISK.... to give an example....

If I'm talking Risk Assessments, this is one of my props....
This is a Hazard...
20181005_151738.jpg
But it's not a significant hazard, as it's not connected to anything.
So it doesn't need a Risk Assessment

I then plug it into the wall socket (switch off)...
It's still not a significant Hazard...
I switch it on...
Now it's a bit more significant as the flex is live, but there's no way for me to touch a live conductor.
But worthy of a Risk Assessment, as to why this cable is switched on....

If I were to remove the connector block from the earth core, it's not increased the hazard level any...

BUT, if I remove the connector block from the Live Core, it's now a potentially lethal Hazard...

So something can be a Hazard, without being a Risk.

To use your Rock Climbing example.
Yes, it's a Hazard, but the degree of Risk varies greatly, depending on whether you have all the ropes and equipment you could possibly use, or you're free climbing....
Just had to say, what a great post bernicarey!!!!!
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Last edited by Alexis on Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by andybz » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:20 am

You must not view the terms "hazard" and "risk" as interchangeable. This is not a pedantic view of semantics but a fundamental principle that underlies safety management.

The HSE have clear definitions
* A hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer etc
* The risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

Taking your rock climbing example. The hazard is the height, because it introduces the potential of falling, which can cause harm.

The consequence element of risk will depend mainly on how high you climb. If you fall from a low height you will receive minor injuries. If you fall from higher you may die. The consequence may also depend on what you land on (e.g. soft grass vs. solid rock), but that is probably less of an issue.

The likelihood element will depend on steepness of the rock face, the rock condition (e.g. loose, slippery) and environmental conditions. This is without controls. The likelihood can be further reduced by use of ropes, footwear, skill etc.

So rock climbing is a potentially hazardous activity. This risk will depend on the nature of the climb and controls.

Beri's example is an interesting way of showing how risks can change depending on circumstances. However, I would prefer to focus on the hazard being the electricity rather than the flex.
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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by bernicarey » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:10 am

How to get 3 different views on H&S, put 3 practitioners in the same room.... ;)

Indeed, using the HSE definitions as quoted by andybz, it's often down to a personal viewpoint and a bit like finding a Root Cause.

I remember the final straw with my terrible tutor when studying my Diploma was her attitude over one of my workplace hazards.

We were in the desert and suffered micro dust storms at certain times of year, So I listed in my Unit D project "Dust storms" with the risk of sand in the eyes. She insisted that my Hazard was 'eye damage'. That was the tipping point for me.

In anybz's comment
the hazard being the electricity rather than the flex
he is missing my point a little.
The idea is to build up the scenario to show people the 'relevance' of their Hazard and Risk approach.
I could just as easily use an electric drill and while it's not plugged in, it's a potential hazard, but once you try and use it, you have electricity, and entanglement, even possibly drill a hole in a body part if your'e distracted while using it.
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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by andybz » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:41 pm

I don't agree that definitions of hazard and risk are "down to a personal viewpoint."
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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by The Instructor » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:38 am

A Hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm... the Risk is how likely is the hazard to cause harm...
It is as simple as that.... this is basic Health and Safety 1O1 ;)
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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by bernicarey » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:41 pm

andybz wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:41 pm
I don't agree that
definitions of hazard and risk are "down to a personal viewpoint."
OK, so now I'm feeling like you're trying to twist my words, but that fine, I'm a grown up.

I didn't say
definitions of hazard and risk are "down to a personal viewpoint."
But it is something that is a frequent discussion point amongst professionals, often with those that don't have a good understanding of the subject.

It's down to the use of the English Language.
For example why do we call it a Risk Assessment? We are assessing the Hazard, and determining the degree to which it presents a risk to safety and health of an individual; so why don't we call it a Hazard Assessment?

In fact, if you look at the US OSHA regulations, there are places where they drift into using the term Hazard Assessment:
e.g.
1910.132(d)
Hazard assessment and equipment selection.
1910.132(d)(1)
The employer shall assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). If such hazards are present, or likely to be present, the employer shall:
1910.132(d)(1)(i)
Select, and have each affected employee use, the types of PPE that will protect the affected employee from the hazards identified in the hazard assessment;
1910.132(d)(1)(ii)
Communicate selection decisions to each affected employee; and,
1910.132(d)(1)(iii)
Select PPE that properly fits each affected employee.

Note: Non-mandatory appendix B contains an example of procedures that would comply with the requirement for a hazard assessment.
Indeed I once read somewhere, and I don't know if there's any truth in it at all, that some languages don't have the words Hazard and Risk as we know them, their word, in their language, is the same for both. Whether that's true, and which languages they are, I have no idea.

So when I said it was 'semantics' or 'viewpoint', I was not refering to the HSE Dictionary definitions, I was referring to the OPs question about "High Risk or Hazardous"; what I was trying to get across is that I don't give a damn what your understanding is of the exact definition of either word....

So long as you identify the substance, process, activity or whatever else it is that is likely to cause harm to any person, and then document your solution to that problem/issue, you can call it what the heck you want.

Does it really affect the end result whether something is called High Risk or Hazardous?
So long as everyone understands what the issue it, you can call it 'Chuffing Heck', so long as everyone know where that sits on the relative severity scale.
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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by andybz » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:32 pm

Sorry if I misinterpreted what you were saying.

My experience is that when you start blurring the definitions of hazard and risk you will have problems. But maybe that's just me?

A Hazard Assessment is not the same as a Risk Assessment. The difference is that HA does not account for likelihood.
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Re: Hazardous v High Risk

Post by bernicarey » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:21 pm

The Instructor wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:38 am
A Hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm... the Risk is how likely is the hazard to cause harm...
It is as simple as that.... this is basic Health and Safety 1O1 ;)
Very much so, but you'll be surprised how many professionals just don't get the relationship between the two factors. Over the years, we've had many a topic here in the forums which have become quite heated as such, over the Risk Assessment process where 'practitioners' here in the forum have insisted that if the maximum Hazard is Death, then the potential outcome of the Risk Assessment must always be severe as 'Death'.

When I make comments about 'semantics' or 'viewpoint' I'm referring to the way individuals view the same thing, whatever it is.
Take Andy's remark
However, I would prefer to focus on the hazard being the electricity rather than the flex
It's like peeling an onion. Is it the Flex, or is it the Electricity? Does it really affect the price of fish; to paraphrase an old idiom...
The real hazard to the person only comes about when the person and the electricity touch each other.
So is the hazard the electricity, or the damaged flex that allows the person and the electrical potential to touch each other?

The point I was making, which wasn't clear enough apparently, was that I don't care about the philosophical argument of 'which is what'; only that everyone goes home safe at the end of the day.
The whole point of this topic was a question about whether to use the term 'Hazardous' or 'High Risk'?

Too many people want to argue about the minutia instead of getting on with the job of staying safe.
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