What are emerging risks? Here you have an official definition by EU-OSHA

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One of the greatest challenges for the sector of the occupational safety and health is adapting to modern times without loosing the rhythm set by the faster and faster advance of technology, processes and economical and social changes.

An evidence of how important is this challenge is that European Union created a specific unit -the European Risk Observatory– with the aim of identifying “new and emerging risks in occupational safety and health, in order to improve the timeliness and effectiveness of preventive measures”.

Avoiding ambiguities, one of the firsts things you see when entering the Observatory´s site is the definition for “emerging OHS risk”: any occupational risk that is both new and increasing.

By “new” is meant:

  • the risk did not previously exist and is caused by new processes, new technologies, new types of workplace, or social or organisational change; or,
  • a long-standing issue is newly considered as a risk due to a change in social or public perceptions; or,
  • new scientific knowledge allows a long-standing issue to be identified as a risk.

The risk is increasing if the:

  • number of hazards leading to the risk is growing; or
  • the exposure to the hazard leading to the risk is increasing (exposure level and/or the number of people exposed); or
  • the effect of the hazard on workers’ health is getting worse (seriousness of health effects and/or the number of people affected).

In spite of there is certain prominence by the so-called “green jobs” (those related to energy and preservation of environment) and those related to technological and scientific advances, such as works with nanomaterials, the range of new risks included in this definition is already wide and diverse.

emerging risks - thermal_solar_power_plant

It is not necessary to go far to find more examples, simply surfing this blog you´ll find some of them: from hazards of using new mobile devices while walking or driving a vehicle, to risk arisen by climate change, or the cultural circumstances due to increasing internationalisation of companies.

Did you already encounter any of these risks in your day-to-day or regular work?.

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    john jairo leal

    la nanotecnologia prepararnos para identificar los riesgos derivados de esta labor