Hazard Identification and Evaluation

Before beginning the hazard evaluation and risk assessment process, a researcher must define the scope of work.  What are the tasks that must be evaluated?  A well-defined scope of work is a key starting point for all steps in the risk assessment and hazard analysis. 

The next step after identifying the scope of work is to identify the hazard.  A HAZARD IS A POTENTIAL FOR HARM.   Hazards can be identified as an agent, condition, or activity that has the potential to cause injury, illness, loss of property, or damage to the environment.  The table below has been adapted from Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories, which you can find in the Resource tab to the right.

Table 3-1: Examples of Hazards Commonly Identified for Research Activities


Hazard Types




Carcinogenic, teratogenic, corrosive, pyrophoric, toxic, mutagenic, reproductive hazard, explosive, nonionizing radiation, biological hazard/pathogenic, flammable, oxidizing, self-reactive or unstable, potentially explosive, reducing, water-reactive, sensitizing, peroxide-forming, catalytic, or chemical asphyxiate



High pressure, low pressure, electrical, uneven surfaces, pinch points, suspended weight, hot surfaces, extreme cold, steam, noise, clutter, magnetic fields, simple asphyxiant, oxygen-deficient spaces, ultraviolet radiation, or laser light



Creation of secondary products, lifting, chemical mixing, long-term use of dry boxes, repetitive pipetting, scale up, handling waste, transportation of hazardous materials, handling glassware and other sharp objects, heating chemicals, recrystallizations, extractions, or centrifuging



Steve Elwood
Associate Director

Stanley Howell
Sr. Program Manager - Chemical Safety