Article 1: Risk Assessment’s New Era. Part1: Challenges for Industrial Hygiene
The article on “Risk Analysis” explains that risk analysis entails the combined activities of accessing, managing, and communicating human health risks. It appreciates that industrial hygiene now reflects changes in health risk assessment methodology and practice. Industrial hygienists can practice several emerging techniques as they enhance responses to risk assessment. The effect of enzymes that metabolize occupationally relevant toxicants. Genes vary from one person to another and examinations of genetic data can reduce the unit risk of substances such as dichlorolethane by a factor of more than 100 from previous risk assessments. The integration of genetic information into risk assessment holds a exciting future for risk assessment.
In addition, cumulative risk assessment, which assesses the combined risks associated with multiple stressors in human health, is another crucial risk analysis issue. Exposure to dangerous chemicals can be through inhalation, dermal and oral means. Beyond the means of exposure to harmful substances, the cumulative risk assessment shift to multiple stressors instead of single stressors. The cumulative risk assessment in this case looks at multiple exposure pathways, the non-occupational factors (diets, contaminated water, and prescription medication) which could be increasing the health risks for employees.
There are also emerging hazards that have come about through modern technology. These include issues on nanotechnology because research is ongoing and as such use and handling of the materials and equipment could expose people to health risks. There is the risk of nonchemical stressors such as shiftwork, which could be carcinogenic to the body due to disruptions of the body’s biological rhythms.
Industrial hygienists can respond to these emerging risk because their field is multidisciplinary and the long history that exists in risk assessment. The people are trained on physical, biological sciences, public health, engineering, and management. The professionals are at a position to take the lead in the development of solutions to long-standing and emerging risks.
Article 2: Safe or Safe Enough; measuring risk & its variables objectively.
This article states that risk assessment techniques are qualitative approaches. It states that in order for risk assessment to be objective, the results have to be repeatable, and estimations concepts have to be intuitive. As such, there is a need for an estimation to be measurable. The article focused on the analysis of injuries and the probability model that linked the likelihood to the strength of the safeguard.
The first concept of measurement was the Severity Estimation. This one involves the people drawing on their incident some experience that enables them to predict the extent of harm that a given hazard can cause. The severity categories are minor, moderate, serious, and catastrophic. The second measurement method is the Probability Estimation. In this case, the risk assessment examines risks as certain, possible, likely and remote. The variables considered in this case are operator skill and behavior, incident history, and the nature of exposure. Once the probability and the severity estimations are done, their definitions can be used to establish a risk matrix. It is important that the assessor must determine the standard of control that would work well for each risk.
There are other administrative and operational considerations to mitigate risks. These include whether a hazard is in plain view, the speeds of the machines, the stopping distances, warning properties, ability to avoid the danger among others. The administrative controls can be made effective by modifications of machines and the operating environment, operator certifications, retraining, provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and placement of proper warning signs. In addition, communication is a central pillar in risk assessment and in addressing the risks in a sustainable manner.
Piamapiano, J & Rizzo S. (2012) Safe or Safe Enough? Measuring Risk & Its Variables Objectively. ProfessionalSafety.
Dotson et al Risk Assessment’s New Era. Part1: Challenges for Industrial Hygiene.