Hazard vs Danger
Hazard, danger, and risk are three words in English language that are closely related and nearly have the same meanings, and pose difficulties for non-natives who cannot find the right word in a particular context. While risk is easier to understand because of frequent use by parents and teachers when they warn children that playing with fire is risky etc, it is hazard and danger that are more confusing. This article tries to highlight the differences between hazard and danger to enable readers to use these words in right contexts.
The first thing that comes to mind when hears the word hazard is cigarette; as it is clearly written over each pack that cigarette smoking is hazardous for health. Anything that has the potential to cause harm to the body of a person is said to be hazardous. Whether you are working up a ladder, making use of a chemical (insect spray), working under a noisy environment, working with electricity, all these conditions have potential risk to you is said to be the hazard. Hazard is a word that is written over boxes containing an object that is perceived as having the potential to cause harm to a person. The risk to the user may be small or huge; it does not make a difference, but the manufacturers fulfill their responsibility by making the hazard sign and writing a few lines about it. For example, all electric appliances have hazard written over their back covers with the warning of an electric shock to anyone who tries to open the cover and does not have the authorization to do so.
Dangerous bend ahead! Drive carefully. This one sentence written over a board is enough to make you alert and drive cautiously as you know that driving fast may be dangerous to you. The sign of danger in itself is frightening with a human head in skeletal form over two bones crossing each other. Doctors advise people who are asthmatic to stay away from pollen and dust as there is a danger of an asthmatic attack, especially during start of winters.
When you are in a national park, there are often signs that read ‘danger of wild animals’ and are meant to warn you to get inside your vehicle, to avoid any untoward mishap. Danger of electric shock is commonly written prominently on many appliances and gadgets to deter people from opening them with screwdrivers.
What is the difference between Hazard and Danger?
• Danger is generic and vague, whereas hazard is specific.
• Both words carry the inherent risk information to you.
• Hazard is used more frequently with bigger threats or risks to life.
• Anything that has the potential to cause harm to you is hazardous.