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Encyclopedia > Occupational hazard

Occupational safety and health is the discipline concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of employees, organisations, and others affected by the work they undertake (such as customers, suppliers, and members of the public). Warning signs, such as this one, can improve safety awareness. ... The well-being or quality of life of a population is an important concern in economics and political science. ...

The primary, and arguably most prominent reason for occupational safety and health (OSH) standards are moral - an employee should not have to expect that by coming to work they are risking life or limb, and nor should others affected by their undertaking. A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ...

OSH standards are, generally speaking, further reinforced in both civil law and criminal law; it is accepted that without the extra "encouragement" of potential litigation, many organisations would not act upon their implied moral obligations. In the common law, civil law refers to the area of law governing relations between private individuals. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. ...

The final factor that favours OSH is economic - governments have long realised that poor occupational safety and health performance results in cost to the State (e.g. through social security payments to the incapacitated, medical costs for treatment, but also through the loss of the "employability" of the worker), and organisations undergo a number of costs in the event of an incident at work (such as legal fees, fines, compensatory damages, investigation time, lost production, lost goodwill from the workforce, lost goodwill from customers and the wider community). Economics (deriving from the Greek words οίκω [okos], house, and νέμω [nemo], rules hence household management) is the social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy unlimited wants. ... For specific national programs, see Social Security (United States), National insurance (UK), Social Security (Sweden) Social security primarily refers to a field of social welfare concerned with social protection, or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment, families with children and others. ... Employability is about having the capability to gain initial employment, maintain employment and obtain new employment if required. ...

In the European Union, Member States have enforcing authorities to ensure that the basic legal requirements relating to occupational safety and health are met. In many EU countries, there is strong cooperation between employer and worker organisations (e.g. Unions) to ensure good OSH performance as it is recognized this has benefits for both worker (maintenance of health) and enterprise (improved productivity and quality). Quality refers to the distinctive characteristics or properties of a person, object, process or other thing. ...

In the USA, OSHA has been regulating occupational safety and health since the 1970s. If you are searching for the organization, click OSHA. Osha (Ligusticum porteri) is a perennial herb used for its medicinal properties. ...

Occupational safety and health interacts strongly with other disciplines, such as ergonomics, toxicology, and psychology. Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Toxicology (from the Greek words toxicon and logos) is the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms. ... Psychology (Gk: psyche, soul or mind + logos, speech) is an academic and applied field involving the study of the human mind, brain, and behavior. ...


Hazards, risks, outcomes

The terminology used in OSH varies between states, but generally speaking:

  • A hazard is something that can cause harm
  • A risk is the probability of the hazard causing harm
  • The outcome is the result of when the hazard causes harm

For example, repetitively carrying out manual handling of heavy objects is a hazard (it can cause harm). The risk can either be expressed mathematically, (0.5 = a 50/50 chance) or just as "high/medium/low". The outcome would be a musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Hazard is a term used in evaluating safety: A hazard is a potential unwanted event. ... Risk is the potential impact (positive or negative) to an asset or some characteristic of value that may arise from some present process or from some future event. ...

Risk assessment

Modern occupational safety and health legislation usually demands that a risk assessment be carried out prior to making an intervention. This assessment should: Risk assessment is a step in the risk management process. ...

  • Identify the hazards
  • Identify all affected by the hazard and how
  • Evaluate the risk
  • Identify and prioritise the required actions

The calculation of risk is based on the likelihood or probability of the harm being realised and the severity of the consequences. This can be expressed mathematically as a quantitative assessment (by assigning low, medium and high likelihood and severity with integers and multiplying them to give a risk factor), or as a description of the circumstances by which the harm could arise i.e. qualitative. This article is about probability. ... A quantitative property is one that exists in a range of magnitudes, and can therefore be measured. ... A risk factor is a variable associated with an increased risk of disease or infection but risk factors are not necessarily causal. ... Qualitative is an important qualifier in the following subject titles: Qualitative identity Qualitative marketing research Qualitative method Qualitative research THE BIG J This is a disambiguation page — a list of pages that otherwise might share the same title. ...

The assessment should be recorded and reviewed periodically and whenever there is a significant change to work practices. The assessment should include practical recommendations to control the risk.

Common workplace hazard groups

Prevention of fire often comes within the remit of health and safety professionals as well. A sampling of Bacillus anthracis—Anthrax A biological agent is an infectious disease that can be used in bioterrorism or biological warfare. ... The chemical agent in the context of a work place hazard is a chemical that may be hazardous due to its physical or toxicological characteristics. ... NOiSE is a one volume manga created by Tsutomu Nihei as a prequel to his acclaimed ten-volume work, Blame!. It offers some rather sketchy information concerning the Megastructures origins and initial size, as well as the origins of Silicon life. ... Oscillation is the periodic variation, typically in time, of some measure as seen, for example, in a swinging pendulum. ... Ionizing radiation has many practical uses, but it is also dangerous to human health. ... Lightning strikes during a night-time thunderstorm. ... In the medical world, stress is defined as one of the following: An applied force or system of forces that tends to strain or deform a body, The resisting force set up in a body as a result of an externally applied force, or A physical or psychological stimulus that... Temperature is also the name of a song by Sean Paul. ... Humidity is the concentration of water vapor in the air. ... Lighting refers to either artificial light sources such as lamps or to natural illumination of interiors from daylight. ... The human musculoskeletal system is the musculoskeletal system that gives us the ability to move. ... Ergonomics (from Greek ergon work and nomoi natural laws) is the study of designing objects to be better adapted to the shape of the human body and/or to correct the users posture. ... A large bonfire. ...

See also

Public Organizations

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. ... The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) aims to make Europe’s workplaces safer, healthier and more productive. ... For other meanings of the ILO abbreviation, see ILO (disambiguation). ... The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), reporting to the Health and Safety Commission, is the British government body responsible for the regulation of risks to health and safety in the UK. It was created as a result of the Health and Safety at Work, etc, Act 1974, and has since...


The Occupational Safety and Health Act, known more generally as the OSH Act, was signed into US law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 29, 1970. ... The Health and Safety at Work Act (HASWA or HASAWA) is a United Kingdom law enacted in 1974 that set basic principles which must be followed by both employees and employers to help ensure a safe working environment. ...


Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... In development of avionics, a hazard analysis is used to characterize the elements of risk. ... Science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, prevention, and control of those environmental factors or stresses arising in or from the workplace which may cause sickness, impaired health and well being, or significant discomfort among workers or among citizens of the community. ... Process Safety Management is a United States regulation intended to prevent a disaster like the 1984 Bhopal Disaster. ... Psychology (Gk: psyche, soul or mind + logos, speech) is an academic and applied field involving the study of the human mind, brain, and behavior. ... Toxicology (from the Greek words toxicon and logos) is the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms. ...

External links

Further reading

  • Center for Chemical Process Safety (1992). Guidelines for Hazard Evaluation Procedures, with Worked Examples, 2nd Edition, Wiley-American Institute Of Chemical Engineers. ISBN 081690491X.
  • Bahr, Nicholas J. (1997). System Safety Engineering and Risk Assessment: A Practical Approach (Chemical Engineering), 1st Edition, Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 1560324163.

OHSAS => (a part of) ISO 140001

  Results from FactBites:
Asthma - An Occupational Hazard (517 words)
Funded by the CRC for Asthma, the paper published in this month's issue of Occupational Medicine, indicated occupational factors may be associated with an estimated 9.5% of cases of adult-onset asthma in New South Wales (NSW).
Occupational asthma (OA) is defined as asthma due to causes and conditions attributable to a particular occupational environment and not to stimuli encountered outside of the workplace.
Occupational asthma in New South Wales (NSW): a population-based study.
Wood dust occupational hazard (4225 words)
These studies consistently indicate that occupational exposure to wood dust is causally related to adenocarcinoma of the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses.
In studies of squamous-cell carcinoma of the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses, smaller excesses were generally reported than for adenocarcinomas, and a pooled analysis of 12 case-control studies found no association with exposure to wood dust.
In view of the overall lack of consistent findings, there is no indication that occupational exposure to wood dust has a causal role in cancers of the oropharynx, hypopharynx, lung, lymphatic and haematopoietic systems, stomach, colon or rectum.
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