Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hazard part II

Welcome back!
Hazard by itself cannot produce harm or danger unless we are EXPOSED to the hazard. EXPOSURE is the main mechanism or pathway that release the dangers from hazard source.
How much is your exposure to hazard is the main question? What are the chain of factors in this exposure? Do you have control measure to prevent the transmission of consequence of hazard from occur?
For example:
You are doing soldering process in your work. This process involves the usage of lead which produces fume. Lead fumes at certain level in the air can enter your body through inhalation. The effect of excess plumbum in your body are anaemia, kidney impairment & neuropathy.
So you are exposed to LEAD FUMES which will adversely affect your health in the long run. How much is your exposure? Is the level of the fume in the air exceeding the permissible exposure level (PEL) as determined by law. What are the factors that are aggravating your exposure? Do you have knowledge of health effect of lead? Are you following standard operation procedure? What is your perception about health effect of lead? Do you value your health? Are there any control measures in your work to minimise the exposure of lead fume? Is there local exhaust ventilation available to suck out the fume? Do you wear appropriate mask? Do you wear appropriate glove?
The answer to these questions will determine how much exposure will you get from the hazard of lead fume. If you dont care about your health and safety, you will ignore all the above measures and factors. You will create what is called UNSAFE ACT or practice. You will also create UNSAFE CONDITION. Due to nothing happen yet, it will reinforce your behavior on this practice. Unless the safety culture in your organisation exist, you will continue with this bad safety and health practice at workplace without guidance or care from the people at your workplace. It is a matter of time when all the factors combined and aggravating each other, then the consequence occur - IMMEDIATE or DELAY. The chance or probability for you to suffer the consequence either affecting your safety or health is called RISK.
So when we deal with HAZARD, we should ask what is THE RISK of getting the consequence of the hazard ?
Your RISK is determined by how much is your EXPOSURE. The level of your exposure is depending on all the factors we asked earlier.
To determine the level of your exposure, we need to do HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT and RISK RATING.
We will discuss this topic in next posting.

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