Exposure Assessment

Managing Health Hazards with an

Exposure Assessment Strategy

What are the big risk exposures in your workplace? Do you have a good sense of the magnitude of air and noise hazards in your workplace? One of the most important parts of any health & safety management program is the exposure assessment. Exposure assessments help you see just how much risk your workers (and business) are facing, so you can make improvements. These observations can be instrumental in minimizing risk exposure across the board.

An exposure assessment strategy is an industrial hygiene plan for the evaluation of worker exposures; it is a tiered, cyclic procedure. Effective strategies are continuously reviewed and improved as data is gathered.  The development and implementation of such a strategy consists of the following general steps:

 

  1. Basic Characterization

  2. Exposure Assessment

  3. Controls Measures

  4. Reassessment

 

An exposure assessment is usually performed by an experienced industrial hygienist.   First, a walkthrough and basic characterization are conducted to assess exposures and evaluate health risks.  Information is collected to characterize the workplace, workforce, and chemical or physical agents.  Similar exposure groups (SEGs) are defined according to the chemicals, tasks, and time related to their exposure.  The potential for exposure is estimated and a strategy is developed for evaluating or measuring the exposures.  The exposure assessment results are then used in the selection of personal protective equipment and assisting in the allocation of resources for training, medical surveillance and control measures.