A Framework for Assessing Exposures to Multiple Hazards and Implications for Prioritizing Risks to Human Health, Safety, and the Environment
Exposure assessment in the workplace or community is time-consuming and a lack of resources can mischaracterize risks to human health, safety, and the environment. It is even more difficult when there are multiple hazards in operations where raw materials and the release of myriad chemicals with various health, safety, and environmental effects occur. The challenge to practitioners is to ensure that hazards are anticipated, recognized, and evaluated and—where exposures are above exposure limits—management strategies are implemented to minimize or eliminate risks. Where resources are not available, limited exposure data should support professional judgment to characterize and prioritize risks.
The aim of this study is to review and apply various approaches to assess multiple hazards and provide the basis for risk characterization and prioritization. The prior work experience, knowledge and education, and scientific computational tools are described to understand exposures to multiple hazards relative to occupational exposure limits and risks. Although one industrial sector is used for illustrative purposes, the results are generalizable to other sectors and the general environment. Previous knowledge and education do not underscore the importance of walk-through audits. Further, informal and formal surveys, checklists, interviews, and structured questionnaires are useful tools to assess multiple hazards and their risks.
Supplemental Figure 1 | PDF
Publication: Journal of Environmental Health
Published: December 2023
- Ephraim Massawe, PhD, Southeastern Louisiana University