21/12/2015

Monitoring new and emerging risks

Working environments are constantly changing due to new technologies,
processes, and substances, as well as developments in the labour market and new
forms of employment. Drivers of change include globalisation, innovation and
evolving demographics such as ageing. Because of all this, new workplace risks
are starting to emerge.An article titled 'Monitoring new and emerging risks'
breaks them down into three main categories: physical risks, psychosocial risks
and risks related to dangerous substances.

One of the key physical risks identified is inactivity - i.e. in front of a
computer screen, which is a result of the growing use of computers and
automated systems. It's starting to emerge that serious health risks, such as
obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and so on, are linked to inactive work.
Fortunately guidelines exist for occupational safety and health professionals
to help address these risks in which regular physical activity and breaks are
often mentioned.

Psychosocial risks meanwhile are fast becoming another cause for concern in
modern workplaces and chief among them are job insecurity, work
intensification, violence and harassment and poor work-life balance. And when
it comes to dangerous substances, the article points to new trends such as
engineered nanomaterials, new fibres and biological pathogens - for all of
which the human risks from exposure are still largely unknown or only newly
recognised.

Referencing over 80 sources, the article concludes by explaining that emerging
risks in workplaces can be identified, evaluated and ranked by criteria such as
amount of exposure and prevalence. New and emerging risks can be complex, but
management of them is possible. It was collectively written by Irene Houtman,
Marjolein Douwes, Esther Zondervan, and Mat Jongen from TNO in the Netherlands,
a research organisation supporting innovation for industry.


More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work