Original Research

Fundamentals of safety hazards: A scientific perspective

Elriza Esterhuyzen, Leonie B. Louw
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 1 | a675 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i1.675 | © 2019 Elriza Esterhuyzen, Leonie Barbara Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 May 2018 | Published: 18 June 2019

About the author(s)

Elriza Esterhuyzen, Department of Operations Management, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Leonie B. Louw, Department of Operations Management, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Current theory on safety hazards and the origin of safety risk is often unstructured, misleading and ambiguous. Essentially, it is ambiguous, as definitions and descriptions refrain from stating a formal common basis upon which one can rely to fundamentally and rightfully conclude what a safety hazard is. As a result, it is quite an effort to set a scientifically valid base for precisely what safety hazards are. The objective of this study was to outline the questionable bases of current views on safety hazards and identify the real nature of safety hazards. The characteristics of safety hazards inform the verification of the scientific nature of the different perspectives on safety hazards. Through a quantitative survey, an assessment was performed regarding the cognisance of South African small business owners and managers related to safety hazards. This study found that safety hazards need to unambiguously remain safety hazards under all circumstances in life. Small business owners and managers require further education to develop their cognisance of safety hazards in order to manage the related safety risk. This research has indicated that not all small business owners or managers are compliant with this legal responsibility and that assistance should be provided to small business owners or managers to assist them in realising the importance of safety hazards in the workplace. Proper cognisance of safety hazards leads to enhanced compliance with legislative requirements.


safety risk; safety hazard characteristics; hazard identification; origin of safety risk; G20


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