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Observations on work force and training needs for assessing environmental health risks.

DeRoos RL; Anderson PN; Berberich NJ; Maugans B; Omenn GS; Rentos PG
Public Health Rep 1988 Jul; 103(4):348-354
The knowledge and skills needed by persons working on environmental risk assessment for state and local agencies were described, and information was provided on the occupational specialties required by state environmental health agencies. The three elements which have been considered to make up risk assessment are hazard identification, exposure assessment, and dose/response assessment. The relationship of risk assessment to risk management was illustrated. Risk management was defined as the process of integrating risk assessment result with engineering data and social, economic, and political concerns, and weighing alternatives to reduce or eliminate the risk. Manpower for risk assessment at the state and local levels were discussed. A hypothetical example of the handling of a groundwater contamination occurrence resulting from organic chemical contamination from a hazardous waste was provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of risk assessment as related to risk management decisions. Information was collected from six states on the organizational structures of public agencies dealing with hazardous waste site safety. The survey indicated that agencies lacked personnel with competency in risk assessment methodologies, that there was a need for more interdisciplinary training, and that lack of sufficient funds made it difficult to acquire qualified personnel. Catalogs from schools of public health were surveyed to determine the availability of courses on risk assessment methodology and environmental epidemiology.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Contract; NIOSH-Author; Education; Training; Safety-research; Risk-analysis; Epidemiology; Environmental-contamination
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Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division