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Covert chemicals, tangible trust : Risk management of chemicals in the workplace

Schenk, Linda and Wester, Misse (2014) In Policy and Practice in Health and Safety 12(1). p.91-106
Abstract

In Sweden, as in other industrialised nations, occupational exposure limits are considered to be an important tool for chemical risk management, although many other factors also play a role in occupational safety and health management. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of occupational exposure limits in relation to information about, and the risk perception of, chemicals. An interview study was performed at four Swedish process industry workplaces in order to investigate these issues. For each workplace, the range of informants covered at least one person who spent most of their working time in the production process; one person in a managerial position; one person in the site health, safety and environment department;... (More)

In Sweden, as in other industrialised nations, occupational exposure limits are considered to be an important tool for chemical risk management, although many other factors also play a role in occupational safety and health management. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of occupational exposure limits in relation to information about, and the risk perception of, chemicals. An interview study was performed at four Swedish process industry workplaces in order to investigate these issues. For each workplace, the range of informants covered at least one person who spent most of their working time in the production process; one person in a managerial position; one person in the site health, safety and environment department; the main safety ombudsman; and the site manager. The results show that informants' understanding of occupational exposure limits and their use is quite poor, although they do understand that there is epistemic uncertainty in determining the toxicological effects of hazardous substances. The risk perception and safety behaviour of the informants were not affected by the occupational exposure limits, nor did occupational exposure limits have any role as sources of information. Nevertheless, almost all the informants expressed the view that occupational exposure limits are trusted and needed; safety engineers and main safety ombudsmen, generally, also added that occupational exposure limits are useful. What was found to be most important factor for the informants' perception of risk and safety was trust in specific people, often established through long-term relationships.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
keywords
Chemical safety, Occupational exposure limits, Personal protective equipment, Risk management, Workplace health
in
Policy and Practice in Health and Safety
volume
12
issue
1
pages
16 pages
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • scopus:84901592035
ISSN
1477-3996
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
104215bd-7e4e-4066-815b-c20d1f9343fd
date added to LUP
2017-04-03 15:27:46
date last changed
2017-05-16 09:05:51
@article{104215bd-7e4e-4066-815b-c20d1f9343fd,
  abstract     = {<p>In Sweden, as in other industrialised nations, occupational exposure limits are considered to be an important tool for chemical risk management, although many other factors also play a role in occupational safety and health management. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of occupational exposure limits in relation to information about, and the risk perception of, chemicals. An interview study was performed at four Swedish process industry workplaces in order to investigate these issues. For each workplace, the range of informants covered at least one person who spent most of their working time in the production process; one person in a managerial position; one person in the site health, safety and environment department; the main safety ombudsman; and the site manager. The results show that informants' understanding of occupational exposure limits and their use is quite poor, although they do understand that there is epistemic uncertainty in determining the toxicological effects of hazardous substances. The risk perception and safety behaviour of the informants were not affected by the occupational exposure limits, nor did occupational exposure limits have any role as sources of information. Nevertheless, almost all the informants expressed the view that occupational exposure limits are trusted and needed; safety engineers and main safety ombudsmen, generally, also added that occupational exposure limits are useful. What was found to be most important factor for the informants' perception of risk and safety was trust in specific people, often established through long-term relationships.</p>},
  author       = {Schenk, Linda and Wester, Misse},
  issn         = {1477-3996},
  keyword      = {Chemical safety,Occupational exposure limits,Personal protective equipment,Risk management,Workplace health},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {91--106},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Policy and Practice in Health and Safety},
  title        = {Covert chemicals, tangible trust : Risk management of chemicals in the workplace},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {2014},
}