# Risk versus hazard

Last week I failed to explain the difference between risk and hazard. Perhaps because the distinction does not exist that clearly in my mother tongue (German). Both hazard and risk are somewhat exchangeably translated to "Gefahr" or "Risiko".
Anyway, when I went to the kitchen this morning to make my morning coffee, I realized there was a hazard: somebody had left some flammable items on the hot plate. This is a hazard. It has the potential to cause harm. However, it might never cause any harm.
But is leaving flammables on the hot plate also a risk? Sure! The risk is the likelihood of harm happening. If the hot plate is never used because nobody ever cooks, the risk might be low. However, if small kids are around who get a kick out of switching on and off electrical devices, the risk might be high. Risk can be quantified. Playing Russian roulette comes with a risk, which can be quantified: 1/6 for every pull of the trigger. A hazard has always a probability of 0 or 1 (it either exists or doesn't). On top of the probability, risk also implicitly includes the severity of the mishap. Therefore Russian roulette is very risky, but jumping from the 3-m diving board is not so much, even though there is a risk that you injure yourself.