Last updated: June 30, 2019

What Does Hazard Mean?

A hazard, in the context of occupational health and safety, is a situation that represents a level of threat to health, life, property, or the environment. A hazard is generally considered dormant, or potential, when it only represents a theoretical risk of harm. Once the hazard becomes a real world threat, this is labeled as active and creates an emergency.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Hazard

An active hazard situation is called an incident. In order to avoid incidents, identification of a hazard risk is made through a hazard risk assessment. This assessment figures the possibility of a hazardous situation to occur.

A hazard can be classified in three modes:

  • Dormant: When a situation represents the possibility of a hazard but people, property, and/or the environment have not yet been affected.
  • Armed: Potential harm for people, property, or environment.
  • Active: When the hazard situation occurs and develops. An active hazard can be labeled as an accident, emergency, incident, or disaster.

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