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Course & Subject Guides

Chemical Safety - Oakland Campus

This guide is designed primarily to support the chemical safety education effort of the Department of Chemistry on the Oakland campus, but it should be useful to anyone working with chemicals at the University of Pittsburgh.

Hazard vs. Risk

What is the difference between a hazard and a risk?

The American Chemical Society uses the following definitions:

Hazard :   A potential for harm. The term is often associated with an agent, condition, or activity (a natural phenomenon, a chemical, a mixture of substances, a process involving substances, a source of energy, or a situation or event) that if left uncontrolled, could result in an injury, illness, loss of property, or damage to the environment. Hazards are intrinsic properties of agents, conditions, or activities.

Risk:  Takes into account the probability or likelihood that a consequence will occur and the severity of the consequence should it occur. An unlikely hazard with the potential to cause death is a higher risk than an unlikely hazard which would cause temporary illness.

Guidance in Assessing Hazards and Risks

Mitigating Risks