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Safety Science Monitor

There is no doubt that the problem of utilizing the available information to reduce or eliminate occupational risks has numerous aspects; some of them of high complexity. Most of the questions arising in this respect are associated with the sources of the information as well as its quality and applicability for the assessment of hazards to workers health and well-being in workplace. Disregarding, for the time being, the question of the availability of information to the concerned professionals, it is worth noting that collecting information on occupational hazards requires time and money, and must be preceded by an assay of the hygienic conditions in the plant. It should also enable assessment of the existing or expected occupational risk. Therefore, to ensure the usefulness of available information, it is necessary that all the elements of†risk assessment referring to manufacture techniques and processes employed in the plant be considered. Risk assessment should also allow monitoring the effectiveness of the intended or actually undertaken preventive measures, which often requires major intervention. It is generally recognized that the risk assessment continues to be a matter of controversy, as it makes one adopt numerous assumptions based on scientific hypotheses as well as use mathematical models whose applicability has not been proven, especially in the cases where the magnitude of risk has not been evidenced by adequate epidemiological data. And finally, it is also generally known that the efficient use of available information for reducing or eliminating occupational risk usually requires undertaking activities in accordance with the existing legislation. Moreover, the companies or individuals responsible for monitoring the conditions of work and their impact on workers health need appropriate economical motivation.

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Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, 8 Teresy St, PO Box 199, 90-950 Lodz, Poland

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