Banding the world together; the global growth of control banding and qualitative occupational risk management

Control Banding (CB) strategies to prevent work-related illness and injury for 2.5 billion workers without access to health and safety professionals has grown exponentially this last decade. CB originates from the pharmaceutical industry to control active pharmaceutical ingredients without a complete toxicological basis and therefore no occupational exposure limits. CB applications have broadened into chemicals in general - including new emerging risks like nanomaterials and recently into ergonomics and injury prevention. CB is an action-oriented qualitative risk assessment strategy offering solutions and control measures to users through "toolkits". Chemical CB toolkits are user-friendly approaches used to achieve workplace controls in the absence of firm toxicological and quantitative exposure information. The model (technical) validation of these toolkits is well described, however firm operational analyses (implementation aspects) are lacking. Consequentially, it is often not known if toolkit use leads to successful interventions at individual workplaces. This might lead to virtual safe workplaces without knowing if workers are truly protected. Upcoming international strategies from the World Health Organization Collaborating Centers request assistance in developing and evaluating action-oriented procedures for workplace risk assessment and control. It is expected that to fulfill this strategy's goals, CB approaches will continue its important growth in protecting workers.

Source : Zalk DM, Heussen GH. Banding the world together; the global growth of control banding and qualitative occupational risk management. Saf. health work 2011; 2(4): 375-379. http://dx.doi.org/10.5491/SHAW.2011.2.4.375

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