What is hazard?

By Nur Hanani Bt Thaldiri, Lecturer, School of Allied Health Sciences

Hazard is a source or a situation that has the potential to cause harm in terms of injuries or ill health, damage to property or environment or a combination of these factors. Every hazard found in our living or working environment can pose a risk to our health and safety. Are you aware that even a  minor injury such as a paper cut could lead to a major incident if it is not properly managed? In order to prevent such incidents from happening, it is best if we could identify the source of the hazard in our living or working environment.

To keep the workplace safe, employers should make sure that their employees are not exposed to any hazard. An employer should look for potential hazards in advance by carrying out risk assessments so that potential hazards can be anticipated and prevented. An employer needs to put in place an effective system in managing their workplace hazards by identifying existing and potential hazards.


Sources of hazards can come from materials, the environment, man or people, methods and machines. These hazards can be categorized as obvious hazards, concealed hazards, developing hazards and transient hazards. Identifying hazards in the workplace can be done by:

  • Carrying out workplace inspections
  • Reviewing accident statistics or reports
  • Discussions and interviews
  • Carrying out external or internal audits
  • Seeking advice or getting consultations from industry groups or professional associations.

‘An incident is just the tip of the iceberg, a sign of a much larger problem below the surface’
– Don Brown

Example of Hazardous Activities

In order to eliminate hazards that can pose risks to safety and health, it is the responsibility of every person in the organization to report any potential hazard. Failing to report hazards in the workplace could lead to a major accident. An organization that is proactive in managing workplace safety and health can help in preventing and reducing the number of injuries and ill health among its employees.

Do you know? SEGi KL offers a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for employers and employees. Find out more here.

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