10/18/2011

Prospects and Pitfalls of Occupational Hazard Mapping

Hazard data mapping is a promising new technique that can enhance the process
of occupational exposure assessment and risk communication. Hazard maps have
the potential to improve worker health by providing key input for the design of
hazard intervention and control strategies. Hazard maps are developed with aid
from direct-reading instruments, which can collect highly spatially and
temporally resolved data in a relatively short period of time. However,
quantifying spatial-temporal variability in the occupational environment is
not a straightforward process, and our lack of understanding of how to
ascertain and model spatial and temporal variability is a limiting factor in
the use and interpretation of workplace hazard maps. We provide an example of
how sources of and exposures to workplace hazards may be mischaracterized in a
hazard map due to a lack of completeness and representativeness of collected
measurement data. Based on this example, we believe that a major priority for
research in this emerging area should focus on the development of a statistical
framework to quantify uncertainty in spatially and temporally varying data. In
conjunction with this need is one for the development of guidelines and
procedures for the proper sampling, generation, and evaluation of workplace
hazard maps.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: The Annals of Occupational Hygiene