Hazards in the Workplace: Evaluation, Prevention and Control
Hazard identification or assessment is an important step in the overall risk assessment and risk management process. It is where individual work hazards are identified, assessed and controlled/eliminated as close to source (location of the hazard) as reasonably as possible. As technology, resources, social expectation or regulatory requirements change, hazard analysis focuses controls more closely toward the source of the hazard. Thus, hazard control is a dynamic program of prevention.
Hazard based programs also have the advantage of not assigning or implying there are “acceptable risks” in the workplace. A hazard-based program may not be able to eliminate all risks, but neither does it accept “satisfactory” – but still risky – outcomes. And as those who calculate and manage the risk are usually managers while those exposed to the risks are a different group, workers, a hazard-based approach can by-pass conflict inherent in a risk-based approach.
The information that needs to be gathered from sources should apply to the specific type of work from which the hazards can come from. As mentioned previously, examples of these sources include interviews with people who have worked in the field of the hazard, history and analysis of past incidents, and official reports of work and the hazards encountered. Of these, the personnel interviews may be the most critical in identifying undocumented practices, events, releases, hazards and other relevant information.
Once the information is gathered from a collection of sources, it is recommended for these to be digitally archived (to allow for quick searching) and to have a physical set of the same information in order for it to be more accessible. One innovative way to display the complex historical hazard information is with a historical hazards’ identification map, which distills the hazard information into an easy to use graphical format.
In this course we will also discuss instrumentation and scientific or non-scientific methods of evaluating the nature and extent of some health problems arising in occupational setting. The different type of hazards in the workplace and how they happen will be discussed in this course. Following this it will be logical to discuss how we can actually evaluate the hazards in the work place.
At the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Define the objectives of hazard evaluation in workplace.
- Explain methods used to evaluate workplace hazards
- Discuss types of sampling
- Interpreter the results
- Describe the objectives of prevention and control of occupational health and safety hazards.
- Explain the prevention and control methods of Occupational hygiene.
- List types and importance of personal protective equipment
- Discuss the difference between local exhaust ventilation and general ventilation
- Explain the reasons for misutilization of personal protective equipment.
- And many more
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION TO OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARDS
Evaluation of Occupational Health and Safety Hazards
Health and safety issues are concerned with the evaluation of the human workforce, and the design of the working environment to obtain maximum satisfaction in productivity, and workers' health, safety and well-being. The recognition and subsequent identification of the specific contaminants (dust, fume, gas, vapor, mist, microorganisms, and sound pressure level etc.)
Evaluation of Occupational Hazards
The basic principles to evaluate occupational health and safety hazards, and the philosophical basis for establishing safe levels of exposure to chemical, physical and biological agents is based on evaluation of occupational environment.
Particulate Matter Measurement
To measure dust exposure, it is necessary to determine the composition of dust that are suspended in the air where workers breathe. Operation that involves the crushing, grinding, or polishing of minerals or mineral mixtures frequently do not produce airborne dusts that have the same size composition.
Air Sampling Instruments
The sampling instruments are geared to the type of air contaminants that occur in the work place that will depend upon the new materials used and the processes employed. Air contamination can be divided into two broad groups depending upon physical characteristics.
Sound measurement falls into two broad categories.
- Source measurement
- Ambient-noise measurement
SECTION 2: PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARDS
Prevention of Occupational Health and Safety Hazards
Occupational diseases and injuries are, in principle, preventable. Among the approaches to prevent these include, developing awareness of occupational health and safety hazards among workers and employers assessing the nature and extent of hazards, introducing and maintaining effective control and evaluation measures. These approaches are undertaken by employers, workers and the government.
Hierarchy of Prevention and Control Methods
Generally, there are five major categories of prevention and control measures: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment.
An engineering control may mean changing a piece of machinery (for example, using proper, machine guards) or a work process to reduce exposure to a hazard; working a limited number of hours in a hazardous area; and there are number of common control measures which are called engineering control. This includes enclosure, isolation and ventilation.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the least effective method of controlling occupational hazards and should be used only when other methods cannot control hazards sufficiently. PPE can be uncomfortable, may decrease work performance and may create new health and safety hazards.
Other Administrative Services
a. Provision of health and sanitation facilities
Workers health, physical and psychological developments are associated with the working and the external environment.
Effective controls protect workers from workplace hazards; help avoid injuries, illnesses, and incidents; minimize or eliminate safety and health risks; and help employers provide workers with safe and healthful working conditions.
To effectively control and prevent hazards, employers should: