So, what is a hazard?
When you think about it, the definition offered by many health and safety “professionals” is misleading. For example, let’s say there’s a power cord running across a walkway on a building site. Is this a hazard?
Most health and safety pros would say that it is.
We are a little different in our definition.
We say the power cord across the walkway is not the hazard; tripping over the power cord is the hazard.
Likewise, we define risk a little differently than most. We believe determining the risk of the hazard occurring (someone tripping over the power cord) is a result of two factors;
- The likelihood of it happening (someone tripping over the power cord)
- The consequences if it does
Now, let’s say the walkway that the power cord is running across is a busy foot traffic area used by members of the public use the walkway, including women in high heels.
Let’s also say that the power cord is not secured in any way but is loosely laying across the walkway. Also, it’s prone to moving around as the operator of the power tool it’s attached to carries out work. Additionally, there are stacks of steel rods piled close to the walkway.
What Is The Risk?
Let’s use a risk matrix to determine the risk.