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Recent risk rates of occupational fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in U.S. industries and their use in planning environmental controls.
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2001 Jul; 16(7):742-744
Cost/benefit justifications are now required for new environmental regulations. The benefit is related to the difference between the currently existing health risk rate and the rate corresponding to the proposed permissible exposure limit. The adoption of many permissible exposure limits has been delayed by the lack of supporting human data and the use of animal data instead. This has resulted in difficulties and controversies not likely to be resolved soon. Meanwhile, a review of currently existing occupational risk rates can provide a perspective for best use of available funds. Tables and text are presented summarizing published occupational risk data for 1996.Transportation incidents cause 42 percent of occupational fatalities. Proper selection and training of workers and proper work rules should be cost effective, also especially in other listed dangerous industries. Annual risk rates per hundred workers for occupational nonfatal injuries and illness were surprisingly high: for manufacturing 10.6, and for the entire private sector, 7.4. Seven worst industries ranged from 25.8 to 30.3. The benefit from controlling such high rates is almost the same whether the final rate is 10(-3) or 10(-6).Thus, specifying a good low-cost procedure that reduces most of the initial risk can provide the lowest cost/benefit ratio, eligible for priority use of available funds.
Epidemiology; Risk-analysis; Exposure-assessment; Dose-response; Employee-exposure; Mathematical-models; Statistical-analysis; Environmental-factors; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Industrial-exposures; Control-technology; Control-methods; Environmental-control; Author Keywords: Occupational Risk Rates; Dangerous Occupations; Occupational Fatalities; Occupational Injuries and Illnesses; Planning Environmental Controls
Bernard E. Saltzman, Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
University of Cincinnati