What is a hazard and what is risk?

On 31 March 2022, the Work Health and Safety laws replaced the health and safety elements of the Mines Safety and Inspection laws. For information visit www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/whs

Transitional arrangements may be in place for the compliance requirements on this page.

All health and safety notifications, forms and guidance for mining and petroleum has moved to the WorkSafe website

What are hazards?

A hazard is a source or a situation with the potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill-health, damage to property, damage to the environment, or a combination of these.

Hazards at work may include noisy machinery, a moving forklift, chemicals, electricity, working at heights, a repetitive job, or inappropriate behaviour that adversely affects a worker’s safety and health.

An unwanted event is a situation or condition where there is a loss of control of the hazard that leads to harm.

What is risk?

A risk is the chance of something happening that will have a negative effect. The level of risk reflects:

  • the likelihood of the unwanted event
  • the potential consequences of the unwanted event.

What are controls?

Controls are the measures put in place to decrease the likelihood or consequences from an unwanted event. They can:

  • prevent the unwanted event or reduce the loss of control of the hazard (e.g. reduce or contain energy release)
  • reduce the effects (e.g. provide shield from hazard; event has happened but emergency response and medical treatment reduce the severity and duration of consequences).