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Workplace Assessment: Determination of Hazards Profile Using a Flexible Risk Assessment Method. Töökeskkonna hindamine: ohtude profiili määramine paindliku riskianalüüsi meetodi abil

by Reinhold, Karin, PhD


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ABSTRACT

The present study was aimed at developing a new comprehensive risk assessment
method to assess hazards at workplaces since risk assessment is considered as the
foundation for pro-active occupational health and safety management in enterprises
and is an important element in European legislation in occupational health and
safety. Some of the existing workplace risk assessment methods were overviewed
in the literature review. The core criteria and specific requirements for the new
method were set before developing the new model. The main issues included user
friendliness, determination of risk levels by quantitative data, clear differentiation
of acceptable and unacceptable risk areas, applicability for various organizations
encountering either small- or large-scale occupational hazards, etc.

As a result, the thesis offers a flexible risk assessment method based on a twostep
model that could be enlarged up to a six-step model according to the size of
the enterprise, combination of hazards profile and experiences of the safety
personnel. Criteria for determining risk levels of the main hazards in Estonian
industries – inconvenient indoor climate, poorly organized lighting, excessive
noise, chemicals and dust – based on the five-step flexible risk assessment method
were developed. Measurements of occupational hazards were conducted in 18
manufacturing enterprises and results were analysed. Excessive noise, as one of the
main health hazards in manufacturing, was studied extensively and risk for noiseinduced
hearing impairment was estimated. The risk criteria for four neurotoxic
chemicals (butanol, styrene, xylene and toluene) present in the wood processing
industry were determined. Among dusts, wood dust was found to be of the utmost
concern and therefore, risk criteria for wood dust were presented.

Two case studies were added as the implementation of the flexible risk
assessment method. The studies showed that the method created by the authors is
viable and applicable in the selected industries for assessing physical and chemical
risks. The basic trial version of the software tool of the model was accepted by the
test users as user-friendly, comprehensive and transparent. The test users
emphasized the benefits of illustrative characteristics, which is a valuable tool for
employees to get the first information about occupational hazards. The
methodology can be used in any kind of company, but small and medium-sized
companies are preferred since large companies may find a need to implement a
more sophisticated and time-consuming approach.

In the current thesis, the investigation of occupational hazards is limited to
measurable hazards only. Attempts to integrate other hazards, such as psychosocial
and physiological hazards, to the same model have been made, but these need
further investigation and are not covered in the present study. The method, in the
current stage, identifies the risk level of a hazard, but does not offer direct advice
on the selection of adequate or suitable control measures. The general hierarchy of
control measures is recommended, but detailed advice on the controls remains for
the future research.

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KOKKUVÕTE

Käesoleva doktoritöö eesmärgiks oli välja töötada laiaulatuslik riskianalüüsi
meetod töökeskkonna riskide hindamiseks, sest riskianalüüsi loetakse proaktiivseks
tööohutuse ja töötervishoiu juhtimise aluseks ettevõtetes ning on ühtlasi oluline osa
Euroopa tööohutuse ja töötervishoiualasest seadusandlusest. Valik olemasolevaid
riskianalüüsi meetodeid vaadeldi kirjanduse ülevaates. Enne uue meetodi
väljatöötamist sätestati meetodile põhitingimused ja spetsiifilised kriteeriumid, mis
hõlmasid kasutaja sõbralikkust, selget vastuvõetava ja vastuvõetamatu riskitaseme
eristamist, sobivust erineva ohtude diapasooniga ettevõtetele jne.

Doktoritöö esitab paindliku riskianalüüsi meetodi, mis põhineb kaheastmelisel
mudelil, mida on võimalik laiendada kuni kuueastmeliseks sõltuvalt ettevõtte
suurusest, ohtude profiilist ja ohutusalaste spetsialistide kogemuslikust baasist.
Kriteeriumid riskitasemete määramiseks peamistele ohuteguritele Eesti tööstuses –
ebasobiv sisekliima, vääriti organiseeritud valgustus, ülemäärane müra, kemikaalid
ja tolm – töötati välja, kasutades paindliku riskianalüüsi viieastmelist skeemi.
Töökeskkonna ohutegureid mõõdeti 18 erinevas ettevõttes, mille tulemusi
analüüsiti, esitades riskitasemete suuruse. Ülemäärast müra kui üht tõsisemat
töökeskkonnaalast probleemi tööstuses uuriti süvitsi ning hinnati riski mürast
tingitud kuulmiskahjustuse arenemiseks. Puidutööstuses uuriti nelja erineva
neurotoksilise kemikaali (butanool, stüreen, ksüleen ja tolueen) sisaldust töökeskkonna
õhus ning esitati riskitasemete kriteeriumid. Töökeskkonnas esinevatest
tolmudest uuriti puidutolmu.

Töösse on lisatud kaks ohutusalast juhtumiuuringut ettevõtetes, kus kasutati
riskide hindamiseks paindlikku riskianalüüsi meetodit. Uuringud näitasid, et
väljatöötatud meetod on rakendatav hindamaks füüsikalisi ja keemilisi riske.
Proovikasutajad hindasid tarkvara test-versiooni kui kasutajasõbralikku ja
läbipaistvat ning rõhutasid illustratiivsete omaduste olulisust töökeskkonnas
esinevatest ohuteguritest ülevaate saamisel. Meetodit on võimalik kasutada
erinevates ettevõtetes, kuid väikesed ja keskmised ettevõtted on eelistatud, sest
suured ettevõtted, kelle vajadused ja võimalused on laiemad, võivad teha valiku
aeganõudvama ning keerulisema meetodi kasuks.

Käesolevas doktoritöös on uuritud vaid mõõdetavaid ohutegureid. Samasse
mudelisse on püütud integreerida ka teisi ohutegureid (psühhosotsiaalsed,
füsioloogilised), kuid see vajab edasist uurimist ning ei ole antud töös esitatud.
Praegusel kujul identifitseerib meetod ohuteguri riskitaseme, kuid ei esita otsest
soovitust ohutusmeetmete valikul. Pakutakse küll üldist ohutusmeetmete hierarhiat,
kuid üksikasjalike kontrollmeetmete esitamine võiks olla edasine uuring.

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