Health and Safety Risk

Definition - What does Health and Safety Risk mean?

A health and safety risk, within the context of occupational health, relates to an assessment of hazards that can lead to the harm, injury, death, or illness of a worker in a determined workplace. Although these risks are noted seperately, they are considered in conjunction to each other. A health and safety risk determination relies on the physical conditions under which any particular worker develops a particular adverse reaction.

WorkplaceTesting explains Health and Safety Risk

A health and safety risk will depend on a chance, either high or low, of any worker to be harmed by a particular hazard. A risk will mean anything that can cause harm to the worker in the working environment; such as chemicals, electrical, radioactivity, biological hazards, employee behavior, and other factors. Employers often carry out risk assessments to determine possible risks at a determined worksite.

Behavioral health risks can include tobacco or alcohol use, poor health habits, physical inactivity, sun exposure, and lack of vaccinations. Biomedical risks could include obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other long-term illnesses. Genetic risks are similar to biomedical but generally focus on long term conditions that have their roots in genetic traits. These could include chromosomal or monogenic disorders. Environmental risks may include worksite location, social unrest, political pressures, combat-zone concerns, chemical agents, and biological agents. Demographic factors such as age and sex are also considered.

These risks are identified through risk assessments and surveys which generally consider four main points:

  • Identify hazards
  • Assess risks
  • Control risks
  • Review measures
This definition was written in the context of Occupational Health and Safety
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