Integrated model of health risk assessment for workers having to work outdoors under exposure to cooling meteorological factors
E.M. Polyakova1, A.V. Meltser2, I.S. Iakubova2, N.V. Erastova2, A.V. Suvorova2
1 North-West Public Health Research Center, 4 2nd Sovetskaya Str., Saint Petersburg, 191036, Russian Federation
2 I.I. Mechnikov North-Western State Medical University, 41 Kirochnaya Str., Saint Petersburg, 195067, Russian Federation
Natural resources extraction involves continuous exposure to cooling meteorological factors typical for open production grounds. This necessitates relevant health risk assessment and management of health risks caused by exposure to these harmful occupational factors. However, the available risk assessment models do not provide a possibility to perform complete assessment of the existing risks created by exposure to meteorological hazards.
The study design included the following. We performed hygienic assessment of working conditions and health of workers employed by “Samotlorneftegaz” Joint Stock Company (JSC) who had to perform their work tasks under exposure to cooling meteorological factors on open production grounds; the assessment involved calculating the group health risk. Individual peculiarities were assessed using subjective (547 people took part in questioning) and objective assessment methods (76 people took part in estimating thermal state of their bodies and 54 people participated in thermometry with cold stress). Finally, we assessed prior and posterior risks.
The prior group risk assessment made it possible to identify risk groups who had a significant risk of developing occupational and non-occupational diseases and to rank working places as per health hazards. The posterior risk assessment confirmed the results produced by the prior risk assessment regarding potentiating negative effects produced by cooling meteorological factors. The assessment of developing general and local thermoregulation disorders revealed that certain individual peculiarities made a substantial contribution into their development. Among them, we can mention long-term outdoor work (60 % of work time or more) under exposure to cooling meteorological factors; a chronic pathology; tobacco smoking. The results produced by this study allowed us to suggest an integrated model for risk assessment, management and communication about health risks caused by working under exposure to cooling meteorological factors.
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