Ensuring the Quality of Occupational Safety Risk Assessment

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Abstract

In work environments, the main aim of occupational safety risk assessment (OSRA) is to improve the safety level of an installation or site by either preventing accidents and injuries or minimizing their consequences. To this end, it is of paramount importance to identify all sources of hazards and assess their potential to cause problems in the respective context. If the OSRA process is inadequate and/or not applied effectively, it results in an ineffective safety prevention program and inefficient use of resources. An appropriate OSRA is an essential component of the occupational safety risk management process in industries. In this article, we performed a survey to elicit the relative importance for identified OSRA tasks to enable an in-depth evaluation of the quality of risk assessments related to occupational safety aspects on industrial sites. The survey involved defining a questionnaire with the most important elements (tasks) for OSRA quality assessment, which was then presented to safety experts in the mining, electrical power production, transportation, and petrochemical industries. With this work, we expect to contribute to the main question of OSRA in industries: “What constitutes a good occupational safety risk assessment?” The results obtained from the questionnaire showed that experts agree with the proposed OSRA process decomposition in steps and tasks (taxonomy) and also with the importance of assigning weights to obtain knowledge about OSRA task relevance. The knowledge gained will enable us, in the near future, to build a framework to evaluate OSRA quality for industrial sites.

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