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Section on Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment


A hazard is defined as anything which could result in an accident, i.e. an unplanned sequence of events which results in injury or loss of life, damage to the environment, loss of capital equipment, or loss of production or inventory. Without proper control of hazards, a sequence of events (scenario) occurs which results in an accident.

The hazards associated with any facility which produces or uses chemicals can be quite numerous, perhaps in the hundreds or thousands for larger facilities. These hazards are the result of the physical properties of the materials, the operating conditions, the procedures, or the design, to name a few. Most of the hazards are continually present in a facility.

The terminology used varies considerably. Hazard identification and risk assessment are sometimes combined into a general category called hazard evaluation. Risk assessment is sometimes called hazard analysis.

Risk consists of two components: the probability of the accident and the consequence. It is not possible to completely characterize risk without both of these components. Thus, a hazard could have low probability of accident but high consequence or vice versa. The result for both cases is moderate risk.

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