Hazard vs. Risk

Difference Between Hazard and Risk

If you look up the dictionary to find the meaning of hazard and risk both of the word will show a synonymous meaning.  However these two words have a whole lot of difference in their meaning as far as health issues are concerned.

Hazard can be defined as anything that is potentially harmful. On a general issue a hazard is said to be there if there is something, be an object or situation which will have a negative and harmful effect on the surrounding. Some of the common hazards are electrical short circuit, leakage of harmful chemicals etc. For example potassium dichromate is a toxic chemical and is used to detect the presence of alcohol in the breath. It is kept sealed and properly covered. So though the chemical is hazardous, there is no risk involved in the use of it.

On the other hand Risk is a chance that there can be any harm. As human beings we always calculate the amount of chance of getting harmed that lies in any action. This probability of harm can be called risk. How we calculate risk can be explained by referring to the thought process when we cross a road and look side ways to check the cars, when we invest in stocks and check the company portfolio to see if the investment is safe enough. For example flour can never be called a hazardous material by any means. However if someone is exposed to the flour that is suspended in the air, then the person runs a danger of being a victim of asthma. This is a disease which is life threatening. So there is a definite risk involved.