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Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 17th, 2020

Introduction

Health and safety of workers are very essential in the workplace for them to perform their duties optimally. If workers are at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals or materials, there is a need for the company to provide protective measures. The Aluminum Company of America is one of the companies whose workers are at the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and materials.

The Aluminum Company of America takes charge of its actions by identifying health hazards from the various exposures. Upon identification, the company takes responsive measures to offer trainings on the health risks and precautionary control of the health hazards (Damiano, 1995).

Moreover, the company keeps records of all significant data that describes the history of workers. Therefore, this article analyzes the occupational exposure assessment as evidenced in the Aluminum Company of America with objective of assessing quantitative and qualitative parameters that portray safety and health conditions of workers.

Scope of the Article

The article begins by emphasizing on the importance of occupational exposure assessment. Occupational exposure assessment aims at protecting health and safety of workers.

The article further describes the Aluminum Company of America and highlights several ways employed by the company in enhancing safety and health measures of its workers. Thus, the Aluminum Company of America employs the following steps in protecting and enhancing safety and health conditions of its workers.

  1. Risk identification: This is the identification and analysis of potential health risks of exposing workers to new operations, products and processes.
  2. Exposure assessment: This is the analysis of exposure data in the new operations, products, and processes. It involves an information gathering process, qualitative and quantitative assessments.
  3. Health hazard control: This is the employment of hierarchical strategies to ensure the safety and protection of the worker.
  4. Worker health protection: This the real action of availing protective equipments, engineering measures, trainings, and other health control hazards to the workers.
  5. Epidemiologic evaluations: This is the process of going back to the data records and assessing workers’ health and exposure histories to determine the viability of the hazard control measure employed.

The article also gives detailed explanations of the three main steps of workplace exposure assessment: the information gathering process, qualitative and quantitative exposure assessments. The information gathering process considers the environment of the workplace and environmental agents.

The qualitative exposure assessment considers the safety materials, the physical and chemical properties of the materials, and paves way for the quantitative exposure assessment. Finally, the article explains the possible challenges of the exercise and gives a conclusive summary of the assessment programs.

Data Management

Data management is a very essential exercise in any workplace program. The data management helps in keeping the history of workers’ current exposure, previous exposure assessments, qualitative, and quantitative data that is necessary in supporting epidemiologic evaluations (Damiano, 1995). It offers the base for compliance and accountability.

The company may not take the responsibility of a worker who depicts a history of carelessness in taking precautionary health measures. For this reason, workers take utmost care and precautions when handling risky chemicals and materials. Generally, the data offers support for the whole process of identification, control, and provision for healthy, and safety measures for the workers.

Research Methods

The author employs the use of qualitative and quantitative research methods to discuss the exposure assessments. The use of these two methods enables a stringent analysis and comprehensive exposure assessment of the workers. Including a qualitative assessment is very important as it paves way to the quantitative assessment.

A qualitative assessment classifies exposures as unacceptable, unknown, significant, or non-significant exposures. The assessment entails three major actions, namely, implementation of controls, taking no action in the case of a non-significant exposure, or paving the way for a quantitative assessment in the case of unknown, unacceptable, or significant exposures

A quantitative assessment applies whenever significant, unacceptable or unknown exposures are identified during a qualitative assessment (Plog & Quinlan, 2012). The quantitative analysis assesses the environment toxicity levels, duration, and frequency of exposure, and the number of exposed workers. The main actions in a quantitative assessment include:

  1. Employing control measures for unacceptable behaviors.
  2. Carrying out a full qualitative assessment incase occupational exposure limits exceed 30%.
  3. Sampling workers and carrying out a baseline survey to pave way for the decision-making process on how to resolve the exposure problems in accordance to the government limits.
  4. Carrying out qualitative reassessments in case of change of workplace and thereby repeating the whole procedure.
  5. Carrying out epidemiologic evaluations to access the viability of the control measure employed.

Conclusion

As discussed, it is essential for the company to take responsibility of the health and the safety of its workers. The health of the workers is the wealth of the company. Although the conclusion given in the article is shallow, there is articulate support of the conclusion within the article.

The exposure assessments play a central role in ensuring that workers receive the best health and safety (Damiano, 1995). These assessments are only possible through the tireless efforts of the management team, which ensure frequent qualitative and quantitative assessment of exposure.

References

Damiano, J. (1995). Quantitative exposure assessment strategies and data in the Aluminum Company of America. Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 10(4), 289-298.

Plog, A., & Quinlan, P. (2012). Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene, (6th ed.). Itasca, IL: National Safety Council.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene'. 17 July.

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