Difference Between Consequence and Risk
Difference Between Consequence and Risk

This article will discuss the difference between consequence and risk and thereafter, risk assessment will equally be discussed. Consequences are the inevitably undesirable outcomes which more often than not, involve to losses and/or damages to the very things we aim to protect. A consequence is calculated by first imagining the possible results of an undesired event.

An illustration of consequences is given in the table below.

Example    Undesired eventConsequencesProbabilityConsequence
1    A surveyor is injured while inspecting material on the project site.injury leg injury leg injury caused by the falling of the blockVery probable In-between once a quarter and once a year.A particular hazard Less serious physicalinjuries.
2    A surveyor member is severely injured or dies while inspecting materialson project site.Building block fall on him or her leg Leg amputatedNot very probable Happens less frequently, let’s say after 10 solid yearsVery critical Leg amputated 

Difference between consequence and risk

There are a number of things that can go sideways for the dreadful outcome in example number 2 to come to pass, consequently, the estimate of probability is different for this outcome. The consequences in example 1 however, are more likely to occur and the likelihood or the probability is adapted accordingly. 

Risk on the other, is the possibility or likelihood of injury or damage to health when exposed to a consequence. It can also be applied to situations of loss of property or equipment or adverse environmental impacts.

These risks are expressed in terms of the likelihood of one being ill or having an injury, whereas consequences relate to causes, such as excessive beer drinking. The factors that influence the level or likelihood of risk are: type of exposure: how much exposed a person is to a dangerous thing or condition, for example several times a day or once a year, how the face is exposed and how strong the effect is. For example, one substance can cause skin cancer while another can cause skin irritation.

The difference the two there is that while a consequence is an inevitably undesirable outcome which more often than not, involves to losses or damages to the very things we aim to protect, a risk is the extent of likelihood that harm will be caused.

Now that a consequence and risk have been defined and theirdifference explained, there is a way of arresting outcomes of them, which is known as risk assessment.

A risk assessment is an in-depth examination of your workplace to identify things, situations, processes, and so on, which can cause harm, especially to people. Once identified, analyze and assess how likely and severe the risk is. Once that decision is made, you can decide what action needs to be taken to clean up or control the damage.

Importance of risk assessment

Risk assessment is essentially cardinal for it is an important aspect of an occupational health and safety management plan. They help in the following:

  • Creating awareness of consequences and risks.
  • Identifying who might be at risk for example members of staff, janitors, visitors, contractors and the public.
  • Determining whether or not there is need for a control program a particular hazard.
  • Determining whether or not existing controls are more than enough or need further action.
  • Preventing injury or illness, especially in the designing or planning stage.
  • Prioritizing risks and their respective control measures.
  • When need be, comply with legal requirements.

The sole objective of the risk assessment process is to assess a hazard and then eliminate that hazard or minimize the level of risk by adding control measures if necessary. When that is done, it entails that you have created a safer and healthier working environment for everybody.

The aim is to answer the following questions:

  • What might occur and what circumstances would lead to its occurrence?
  • What are the potential consequences?
  • What is the likelihood of the consequences happening?
  • Is the risk be managed effectively or does it demand further action?

Risk assessment comes in handy in the following instances:

  • Prior introduction of new processes or activities
  • Prior the changes to the existing processes including when products, equipment, tools or raw information relating to harm is availed.
  • After the identification of hazards is done.

How to Plan for Risk Assessment

  • What will be the scope of your risk assessment for example, provide details of what you value, such as the life of the product, the physical area where the work will be performed, or the type of hazard.
  • Required resources such as training a team of people to carry out the assessment, types of information sources, and so on.
  • The type of risk analysis measures to be employed for example, how accurate is the scale or parameters needed to ensure the most appropriate assessment
  • The stakeholders involved that is, managers, supervisors, employees, employee representatives, suppliers and so on.
  • The relevant authorities or standards may apply in your jurisdiction, as well as organizational policies and procedures.

The assessment should be carried out by a competent person or team who has a good working knowledge of the situation under study. Include, either as part of a team or as a source of information, supervisors and workers working with the process in question, as these people are most familiar with the process.

In conclusion, a consequence is an inevitably undesirable outcome which more often than not, involves to losses or damages to the very things we aim to protect while a risk is the extent of likelihood that harm will be caused. It is important for managers to assess consequences and risks way before they occur so as to have a plan in place on how to tackle them when they eventually happen.

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