Hazard assessment

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Hazard assessment is used to point a potencial danger or harm. Hill I. R. explains that the hazard assessment is "simpler" than the risk assessment. The hazard assessment is rather used for ecological systems[1]. To assess hazardous event, there is needed the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of the physical aspects such as topographical, geological, hydrological information by collection of historic records[2],

Hazard assessment versus risk management

Beer T. and Ziolkowski F. describe levels of analyses, by starting from the smallest assessment of impact and by ending at the most holistic definition of the risk management. Within five below terms (impact, hazard, risk, comprehensive assessment and risk management), there are included seven characteristics which differentiate them, all starting with letter c: concerns, consequences, calculations, certainties and uncertainties, criteria, control and communication[3].:

  1. impact assessment is about related conserns and consequences,
  2. hazard assessment includes impact assessment but also should include calculations,
  3. risk assessment includes hazard assessment but also all certainties and uncertainties,
  4. comprehensive assesssment inclues risk assessment and compares it with given criterias,
  5. risk management has the widest definition as it includes overall assessment but also elements of management so control and communication.

Hazard types

The hazard assessment usually includes of characteristics, materials, structures, centres os systems. Therefore, it might refer to[4]:

  • accident,
  • avalanche,
  • bio-hazards,
  • children's safety,
  • climate changes,
  • desertification,
  • drought,
  • drugs,
  • earth movement,
  • environmental pollution,
  • fire of forest,
  • flood,
  • health and disease hazards,
  • inundation,
  • landslide,
  • military hazard,
  • outbreaks,
  • social hazards of crime,
  • street and family violence,
  • storm,
  • storm damage,
  • surges,
  • tornado,
  • traffic safety,
  • urban conflagration
  • water-logging
  • wind storm,
  • volcanic event.

Hazard characteristics

As there are many hazard types, Westen C. J. definies six main characteristics, within which hazard might be assessed[5]:

  • Triggering factors,
  • Spatial occurrence,
  • Duration of the event,
  • Time of onset,
  • Frequency,
  • Magnitude,
  • Secondary events.

Author: Dominika Zaich


  1. Hill I. R., Heimbach F., Leeuwangh P., Matthiessen P. (1994), p.412
  2. Westen C. J., Alkema D., Damen M.C.J., Kerle N., Kingma N.C. (2011), p.33
  3. Beer T., Ziolkowski F. (1995), p.2
  4. McCall, M.K. (2008)
  5. Westen C. J., Alkema D., Damen M.C.J., Kerle N., Kingma N.C. (2011), p.35

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