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Zero Harm

Hazard Identification

by Dr Rob Long on March 3, 2013 · 1 comment

in Risk Aversion,Robert Long

Hazard Identification

Interesting comments by Dr Rob Long on his Facebook page


When it comes to hazards, all hazards are neutral until activated by the risk of the user. A hazard won’t hurt anyone until a user comes in contact with it. So, there is no real separation between hazards and risk. Of course, if the perception of the user is limited by misdirection or selective attention, then the hazard will not be seen and what happens is triggered not by ignorance but perception blindness. The identification of hazards is neither automatic nor ‘common sense’ but relies upon experience, training and intuition, established over time. The identification of hazards also relies heavily on the perception of the user and their cognitive and visual ability. All humans are subject to over 200 biases in cognition and visual perception. In other words, all humans are fallible and are prone to miss things, even the identification of hazards and risks. This is why the issue of working alone increases risk.

The focus exclusively on hazards is not helpful and needs to also take in to account the perceptions and motivation of the user. If the user is risk averse, then they will develop limited risk intelligence and will not be able to make ‘educated/calculated guesses’ in times of uncertainty. This will also include the ability to identify hazards and risk. This ability to exercise ‘risk intelligence’ is what helps us join the dots together when we experience turbulence or the unknown at work.

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.
  • Eric

    Great defination of a hazard and a risk. Surely hazards are natural and exist in our lives. Exprience is the only teacher if we are to look at a hazard’s risk and how it become into being. This will help create sport on education or calculation basing on fact and not perception.

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