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Risk communication for protection against hazardous substances in the workplace

(in German)

Hazardous substances are ubiquitous in the world of work. Employees from all sectors are exposed to different risks when working with hazardous substances. This also applies to people who do not directly handle hazardous substances (bystanders). Risk communication in occupational safety and health takes place at different levels. The spectrum ranges from large to small companies, safety experts, company physicians, works and staff council representatives to employees and the general public. Risk communication in occupational safety and health along the supply chain aims to create risk awareness among manufacturers, employers and employees to reduce risky behaviour and to encourage risk-reducing behaviour.

Instruments of risk communication are explained in this article and considered with regard to their effectiveness. This affects binding instruments in the European internal market such as the hazard label or the safety data sheet (SDS). At the level of the Hazardous Substances Ordinance, they are the Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS), limit values, the Easy-to-use Workplace Control Scheme for Hazardous Substances (EMKG) and, as a creative instrument, objects of the "DASA Working World Exhibition" in Dortmund, Germany. The results of the paper show that an adaptation of the instruments is necessary, especially for small and micro-enterprises, in order to find the appropriate entry point into risk assessment. Often, the existing instruments are not known, too extensive or difficult to understand. Recommendations for action are necessary that make it easy to get started with risk assessment. Existing scientific studies tend to focus on the deficits in risk assessment rather than on the development of efficient ways to communicate risks. Further analyses of the needs of the different target groups are necessary for appropriate risk communication.

Please download the article "Risk communication for protection against hazardous substances in the workplace" (in German only).

Bibliographic information

R. Pipke, A. Wilmes:
Risikokommunikation zum Schutz vor Gefahrstoffen am Arbeitsplatz
in: Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz 2022. pages 1-10, DOI: 10.1007/s00103-022-03530-1

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