Mining Publication: Toward a Typology of Dynamic and Hazardous Work Environments
The most hazardous work environments share one feature in common: constant change. Many different, but constantly changing hazards are found in agriculture, construction, mining, and transport. This dynamic feature of workplace hazards varies by: (1) degree of control, (2) predictability, (3) visibility, (4) movement, and (5) degree of speed and force. In some cases the actions of the dynamic hazards are required for production to take place, and in many cases, several different hazards may overlap and interact. Finally, whether intentional or unintentional, some dynamic hazards are human generated. These are some of the features that distinguish dynamic and hazardous work environments across a variety of industries. The authors propose a preliminary typology of dynamic and hazardous work environments, along with a schema to systematically observe the dynamic characteristics of these hazards. The implications of this typology are considered with respect to worker training, hazard awareness, and safe work practices. For example, the implementation of the Hierarchy of Control is shown to require active worker involvement at every level in the hierarchy, except where an environmental hazard has been completely eliminated.