The word risk is used in a variety of contexts. But what does risk broadly mean from an insurance perspective? One definition is that risk is the likelihood of a hazard causing adverse effects as well as the impact of those effects. It is important to differentiate between risk and hazard. A hazard is a condition, situation or physical object that increases the likelihood and or severity of an event with an adverse effect. For example, a hazard could be a wet floor and the risk would be injury caused by slipping.
Sometimes Health and Safety is seen as a taboo subject as the importance of it is not seen until there is an accident. It is important to have robust policies and procedures in place as the following details of one of our clients illustrates:
The problem started with a leak in the church roof. The church, a converted warehouse had damp patches on a suspended ceiling. After discussions between the Pastor and the Assistant Pastor, the Assistant Pastor went on the roof to identify the source. The leak was caused by deterioration of plastic around the screw heads holding the roof tiles in place. The Assistant Pastor climbed on the roof again a few weeks later to fix the leak. Whilst up there he stood on a skylight which he had thought to be just another roofing tile, the skylight gave way and he fell through the roof. He had no safety equipment and no risk assessment was performed for the job. He suffered a serious back injury and is now a paraplegic and dependent on a wheelchair.