2.4  Principles of hazard management

You may be asked to plan how to manage environmental hazards, say in a Health Post or mill house that exists in your locality. Involvement in hazard management requires you to follow certain steps, which are outlined below.

  • Establish the context and identify the hazard: These are the first steps. You have learned that a hazard is something that is harmful to our health. A description of the categories of hazards is given in Section 2.2 above. You should identify the type of the hazard in as much detail as you can. You should also describe the exposure conditions and try to answer the following questions: What is the source of the hazard? Who is exposed? What are the pathways or activities that expose a person? What part of the environment is involved in the transfer of the hazard to humans?
  • Hazard/risk analysis and evaluation: Here you would analyse the risk and evaluate the potential of the hazard to cause damage to health. This step needs a deeper appraisal in collaboration with the woreda environmental health worker. The evaluation may require appropriate design, sampling and laboratory investigation.
  • Communicate and consult: When the hazards and risks have been determined, advice can be communicated on the interventions or control measures that are needed to control the hazard. There can also be consultations with relevant people and organisations.
  • Treat the hazard/risk: The interventions or control measures are carried out by the person or people responsible for the hazard or risk.
  • Monitoring and reviewing: The implementation of interventions or control measures for the hazard must be followed up in order to determine whether they are successful. Correction measures can be applied if there is any failure. Identifying appropriate indicators for monitoring is critical and must be done formally.
  • Record keeping: Keeping records and reports on hazard management is always important. These records must contain the type of hazard, exposures and what control measures were taken.

The process of hazard management is shown in Figure 2.4.

The hazard management process
Figure 2.4  The hazard management process.

2.3  Describing environmental exposure to hazards

2.5  Environmental pollution