Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

Occupational Risk Assessment for the Implementation of a Management System of Health and Safety at Work

Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

Occupational Risk Assessment for the Implementation of a Management System of Health and Safety at Work

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Intrinsic component of managerial strategy, prevention is a set of procedures and measures taken or planned at all stages of conception, design and development of work processes. This concept is meant to ensure the work processes in maximum security for the health and integrity of the participants in the process, which eliminates the risk of injury or occupational disease. Thus, this interface is a science combining strictly specialized knowledge and techniques within the scope of the techniques and knowledge in the field of ergonomics, industrial hygiene, psycho-sociology of work, occupational medicine, and industrial toxicology. In this context, it can be said that the main task of prevention is to achieve maximum efficiency and quality of work in terms of reducing the number of accidents to zero.

Hence, there are two major objectives of prevention which raises concern, mainly:

a) on human terms: reduction of occupational accidents and occupational diseases

b) on financial terms: reduction of the cost of accidents and occupational diseases .

These goals can only be achieved by eliminating or reducing occupational hazards; in order to fulfill this aim a comprehensive approach should be undertaken, that includes:

* professional hazard assessment;

* achieving compliance of machinery;

* establishment of work procedures;

* improvement of working environment;

* selection, training and information of staff;

* establishment of management strategy.

The starting point for optimizing the prevention of occupational accidents and occupational diseases in a system is represented by the risk assessment of that system.

Whether it is a job, a workshop, a department or a company as a whole, such an analysis enables knowledge, quantification, and ranking hazards according to their size and the efficient allocation of resources to strategic priorities.

2. The Aim and Objective of Occupational Hazards Assessment

Risk assessment involves identifying all the risk factors of the analyzed system and quantifying their size, based on the combination of two parameters: probability of manifestation and severity of the maximum possible consequence (the most frequent one) on the human body.

Thus, partial risk levels are obtained for each risk factor, namely, overall risk levels for each job and overall aggregate level of risk for the entire analyzed system. This principle of risk assessment is included in the European standards (IEC 812'85, respectively, project CEN 1992) and underlies the practical applicability of different methods (Pece, 2005).

The objective of risk assessment is to enable the employer to undertake prevention / protection appropriate measures regarding:

* prevention of occupational hazards

* training workers

* informing workers

* implementation of a management system to enable effective put into practice of the necessary measures for prevention/protection.

The basic purpose of risk assessment always remains the prevention of occupational hazards. Removing them is not always possible and that is why they should be reduced to the value of residual risks that must and can be controlled.

Risk assessment must be conducted (structured) to allow employers, people of the Health and Safety of Work department and workers to:

* identify hazards and assess risks associated with them;

* assess the risks in order to select appropriate equipment and materials used and organize jobs

* verify whether adequate preventive measures are taken

* observe if all factors, relevant or hidden, related to work process were considered

* contribute effectively to the improvement of safety and health at work.

Reassessment of occupational hazards is also made whenever a change in the system of work takes place (work organization, introduction of new materials, equipment, methods, procedures, etc. …

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