An awareness of the differing degrees of hazard will enable appropriate control measures to be developed and implemented.
Immediate physical danger can manifest itself through very short term injury accidents, such as hand amputation in a power press, or a person falling from a height. The result of immediate physical danger, if it goes uncontrolled, will inevitably be immediate physical injury. The enforcing agencies use the phrase ‘risk of imminent danger’ or ‘risk of serious personal injury’ in connection with the issuing of prohibition notices – a legal control measure designed to reduce the risk of immediate physical danger.
Long term physical danger is more cumulative or chronic. Cumulative back strain caused by poor kinetic handling techniques is an example.
Immediate chemical danger may be caused by strong acids and alkalis being stored and handled poorly. This leads to a risk of skin contact and corrosive burns.
Long term chemical danger is chronic or cumulative, i.e, lead poisoning or exposure to asbestos fibers. The result is some form of occupational disease or illness.
Immediate biological danger may be caused by the presence of contagious diseases or via genetic manipulation. The result is some for of occupational disease or illness.
Long term biological danger is usually cumulative in nature, i.e., noise induced occupational deafness.