Several researcher, scientist gave and suggested several opinions. According to them ‘Hazard’ word comes from different languages. It comes from:

Word Origin of Language Meaning
hasard, hasart Old French Game of chance played with dice
azar Spanish An unfortunate card or throw at dice
hazarder Middle French Put something at stake in a game of chance
az-zahr Arabic The dice/Luck/Chance
zār Persian Dice
zar Turkish Dice

From above chart we can notice that all the source indicate the same thing. They indicate bad card or luck in ‘The Dice’ game. Its significant meaning is the natural dangerous events which causes so much damage. Specially, when people died or lost everything they think it is a curse of god and their bad luck. From the thinking of damage which can be occurred by hazards the word is originated.


A hazard is a dangerous event, incident, consequence, occurrence or agent which has possibility to cause harm, damage and threat to life, property, infrastructure and environment.

Mainly the hazard is the event which has the possibility to cause damage to the environment or human. But it will be defined as hazard until it does not cause any damage. But when it makes damage to the environment or human it will be defined as disaster.

Scientific definition

  1. Those elements of the physical environment, harmful to man and caused by forces extraneous to him. (Burton et al 1978)
  2. A source of potential harm or a situation with a potential to cause loss. (Standards Australia, 2000)


Cyclone is basically a hazard. Because it can cause damage human lives and environment. We know that cyclone forms in the deep sea and comes towards the coastal area. When it forms and comes towards the coastal area it is termed as ‘Hazard’. But when it hits coast and destroy coastal buildings, human lives, trees and environment then it will be called as ‘Disaster’.

Another example is drugs. It is an agent which cause damage to human. But when it produced it is termed as hazard. After using by people when it cause problems then it is termed as disaster.

Hazard can affect in 3 particular sectors

  1. Human lives and livelihoods
  2. Property and infrastructures
  3. Environment and biodiversity


Basically hazards are 2 types: Natural and Man-made hazard.

All the hazards are created naturally or due to human interference.

But according to different aspects hazards are classified differently. They all are given below:

Hazard Types
Figure: Hazard Classification

Based on Energy Source

  1. Physical hazard: Physical hazard refers to the natural event which can cause damage to life, property.

Example: Cyclone, tornedo, earthquake, acid mine drainage etc.

  1. Chemical hazard: When chemical properties are considered as dangerous which can cause destruction to human health or the natural environment then it is known as chemical hazard.

Example: DDT, drugs, toxic materials, pesticides, heavy metal etc.

  1. Biological hazard: Those biological activity or components which poses threat to biotic organisms including flora, fauna and specially human beings is known as biohazard or Biological hazard.

Example: Virus, algae, fungi, bacteria, vector, parasites etc.

  1. Psychosocial hazard: When any occupational or work related physical, chemical, biological hazard have potential to cause psychological damage or mental illness it is known as psychosocial hazard.

Example: Violence in workplace, depression, anxiety, mental disorders etc.

  1. Mechanical hazard: It is the harmful, toxic, poisonous components which is involved with machine, industries and factories. It can be solid, liquid or gaseous components.

Example: Polythene, electric power supply, cutting tools, vehicles etc.

  1. Ergonomic hazard: The physical tools or elements which is potential to cause harm in humanmusculoskeletal system or muscular injury is termed as Ergonomic hazard.

Example: Heavy weights, poorly constructed tools, muscular vibration, repetitive body movement etc.


Based on Origin

  1. Natural hazard: All the natural events, activities, condition which threat or can cause damage to life, property and natural environment are known as natural hazards.

Example: Cyclone, drought, flood, tsunami, landslide, salinity etc.

  1. Anthropogenic or human induced hazard: The hazard which is caused due to human behaviour, activity, error is termed as anthropogenic or human induced hazard.

Example: Land degradation, traffic accident, arson etc.

  1. Technological hazards: Those hazard which is occurred due to technological activity or error is known as Technological hazard. It is a sub-class of anthropogenic hazard.

Example: Mine hazard, industrial explosion, power outage etc.

  1. Sociological hazard: The hazard which is caused due to social disturbance or social process is known as Sociological hazard.

Example: Crime, terrorism, murder, violence, war, corruption etc.

  1. Environmental hazard: Due to human interference or natural activities when physical, chemical or biological components of environment individually or collectively being hazardous is known as Environmental hazard.

Example: Toxic waste water, pesticides, anthrax, ultraviolet ray etc.


Based on Effects

  1. Health hazard: Hazard which effects on human health or can cause injury, death, acute or chronic diseases of human being is termed as Health hazard.

Example: Radiation, noise, arsenic, DDT etc.

  1. Safety hazard: The hazard which effects on human safety and security is termed as safety hazard.

Example: Working from heights, electrical instruments, sharp machine etc.

  1. Economic hazard: All of the hazards which makes a bad on economy, property, livelihood of an individual person or a community is known as Economic hazard.

Example: Poverty, corruption, bribe etc.

  1. Environmental hazard: The hazardous event or agent which is responsible for bad effect on environment are Environmental hazard.

Example: Drought, pesticides, anthrax, ultraviolet ray, heavy metal etc.