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Definition of Hazard

Hazard is a condition or situation that either increases or causes the risk of a peril occurring. In terms of workers' compensation and workplace safety and health, a hazard is any source of potential harm, damage or adverse health effects on something or someone under certain conditions where a worker is working. A hazard in the workplace can bring about adverse effects or cause harm to a worker in the form of a work-related injury or illness. A hazard can also cause an employer to have equipment or property losses. In some instances, a hazard is regarded as being the actual health effect or harm that it caused rather than the hazard. For instance, tuberculosis (TB) could be referred to by some as a hazard, but the tuberculosis causing bacteria would be considered as the hazard or "hazardous biological agent.

A workplace hazard can come from a wide range of sources. These include any process, substance, practice, source of energy, condition, thing or material that has the ability to bring about harm or an adverse health effect on a worker. Examples of hazards include wet floors, welding, a knife, hard rock mining, benzene, electricity and asbestos.

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