Hazard and Risk in occupational safety

The terms hazard and risk are clearly separated and defined differently in the context of occupational safety and health. A hazard is an event or condition in which there is an unacceptable risk of damage occurring. Therefore anything that can result in potential harm and health burdens – such as equipment and materials, work practices and methods – can be hazardous.

A risk according to the understanding of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (ArbSchG) occurs earlier than a hazard. Hence it describes a situation that involves the possibility of damage to health, when a person and a hazard meet in space and time. Examples first of all include the risk of injury, when operating a punch by an employee or the inhalation of toxic agents during operation.

So a risk poses everything that could potentially become a hazard. In accordance with §§ 5 and 6 ArbSchG these risks must consequently be documented in a risk assessment by every business. On the basis of the risk assessment, appropriate precautionary protective measures must furthermore be taken, even if it is only possible that damage or impairment of health occurs.

Risks according to the definition of the occupational safety law

In § 5 ArbSchG, the legislator has established the catalog of hazards to be included in a risk assessment. These can result from:

  • the establishment and design of workstations and workplace
  • chemical, biological and physical impact
  • the selection and use of work equipment, especially of working materials, tools, machinery and facilities including the handling thereof
  • the design and nature of work and production methods, work processes, working hours and their interaction
  • a lack of qualifications and training of employees
  • psychological stress (for example, under- or overload) at work

Risk assessments are the central issue of occupational safety

The risk assessment is, so to speak, the crux of the matter in the area of ​​occupational safety. Accordingly, it is specially monitored by the competent authorities and the employers’ liability insurance associations. The reason for this is obvious: Only if the risk assessment is carried out correctly by the employer, can he then take the necessary measures for occupational safety and thus the health of his employees.

OiRA supports you in the creation

With the software product OiRA (Online Interactive Risk Assessment) you get a tool that enables you to capture risks at every workstation on-site. You can thereby store them online via the mobile device in the system – making other programs or paperwork outdated.

Thanks to numerous templates and modules for daily practice, OiRA facilitates the work immensely. Simultaneously it provides legal certainty towards the authorities with the complete documentation of all steps.