Difference Between Risk and Hazard


Main Difference

The main difference between Risk and Hazard is that Risk is the chance that somebody would get harmed by a Hazard, whereas Hazard is an agent that can cause harm.

Risk vs. Hazard

Risk is the standard of an extent or degree (high or low) to which a hazard can cause danger; on the other hand, the hazard is something that can cause any harm. For example, if an electric wire falls in the water, it is now a risk that someone might get an electric shock, but an uninsulated electrical wire is a hazard.

Risk can minimize; on the contrary, the hazard cannot. For example, if there is some construction going on a roadside, a signboard could be placed showing people that the road is temporarily unavailable, It is minimizing the ‘risk’ that someone might meet an accident there. But hazards cannot be replaced. Machinery, drugged in the road, and wet charcoal all are hazards. In other words, we can say that danger likely to be imposed on people by that particular object is the ‘risk.’ And an object itself is a ‘hazard.’


Risk is the possibility that something dangerous might occur; on the contrary, a hazard is something that threatens our environment. The risk created due to the presence of a hazard; on the other hand, a hazard caused by negligence.

Comparison Chart

Risk is the chance that someone might get harmed from a hazardA Hazard is something that causes harm or danger
Acid burn, electric shock, etcChemical/acid, electricity wires
Safety Measures
Minimized by some signals or signboardsIt cannot minimize
Can be identified beforehandDoes not even come in the notice, i.e., a bucket of water may become hazard afterward
Two types, i.e., systematic and unsystematicThree major types, i.e., physical, chemical, and biological hazards
Presence of hazardNegligence

What is Risk?

Risk is defined as an uncontrollable loss of something that is of great importance. It may be health, life, finance, or social status. Risk can be called as unwanted interaction with vagueness. Perception of risk differs with every person.

Some people count even minor situations as big risks, while others take bigger risks in their lives. In other words, it can be said that the classification of risks (major or minor) depends on one’s mental state. Sometimes a person might create a fuss about every little thing, but sometimes he might ignore even much bigger issues. It is called risk perception.

There are many forms of risk. For example, in the food industry, the risk is that some chemicals are dangerous if they get spilled or if they reacted improperly. In radioactivity centers where high energy reactions are being carried out, highly penetrating rays emitted. As a result, the people working at such places and the people living nearby may develop harmful diseases such as skin ailments and cancer.

Risk is also called an uncertain event or set of events that have a negative effect on the achievement of objectives or plans. So, minimization of risks should be the priority in every field, no matter if it is minimum or maximum.

What is a Hazard?

A hazard is defined as an agent that causes harm to human life, environment, or buildings. Any event that occurs as a result of a hazard is called an incident. Mostly hazards are classified into two ways. They occur as a result of potential energy. This stored energy exists in the form of thermal, chemical, or mechanical energy. If this stored energy is allowed to flow, it becomes a risk and causes great harm. The other type does not involve potential energy; rather, a hazardous situation is present. It includes the presence of less space, wrong positions, low hanging objects, and irregular motions, etc.

Another kind of very common hazard includes natural hazards; they originate in the biosphere, lithosphere, or the atmosphere. They prove to be a potential threat to human life. Examples are earthquakes, land sliding, storms, hurricanes, and tsunamis.

In a dormant or static state, a hazard is merely a threat. It does not cause any harm, but once activated, a hazard cause irreversible destruction and is now called a disaster. A hazard does not even come in the notice. For example, a bucket full of water is a hazard, as it may prove to be accidental.

Hazards in Workplaces

Workplace hazards include situations which result in the release of uncontrolled energy. For example, an object falling from a height due to gravitational or potential energy, a chemical reaction that might go wrong, the release of compressed gas or steam at high pressure and temperature, physical contact with electrodes of a battery or capacitor having high voltage.

Key Differences

  1. Risk is the chance of damage or harm to someone; on the contrary, the hazard is the agent of causing harm.
  2. Risks can prevent, whereas hazards cannot be prevented or minimized.
  3. Risks occur as a result of hazards; on the other hand, hazards may be human-made or natural.
  4. Risks can see beforehand, whereas anything harmless may become a hazard at any time.
  5. The degree of risk varies from person to person, but in the case of hazard, it is not so.
  6. A risk caused due to the presence of negligence; conversely, the hazard caused due to negligence.
  7. Risk is of two types, i.e., systematic and unsystematic; on the contrary, the hazard is of three major types, i.e., biological, physical, and chemical.
  8. Examples of risk are acid burns, electric shocks, etc., whereas examples of hazards include electricity wires, chemical reactions, etc.


So Risk and Hazard both are two different terms. Risks can be minimized by various posters, symbols, and signboards beforehand, whereas Hazards remain the same no matter even the risks reduced.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson