Prediction and prevention of chemical-related injury: Towards an effective risk assessment protocol

R. T. Gun, S. A. Brinkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (Santayana, The Life of Reason)Background. Most Australian States have now adopted a new set of performance-based Regulations and Code of Practice for the control of workplace chemicals. The risk assessment requires an assumption that the exposure is predictable. This assumption may not be relevant to chemical injuries, which arise from exposures that have not been predicted. In this study we have explored alternative means of predicting chemical-related injuryMethods. 23 chemical-related injuries were investigated and the sequence of causal events identified. Australian injury data sets were then interrogated for accidents whose circumstances matched any in our cases. Cases were also examined for their amenability to hardware solutions to prevent recurrence.Results. Matching precedents were found for 14 of the 23 accident cases in the series. In some cases several matching precedents were found.Interpretation. A consolidated injury data file should be developed, which users can (i) interrogate, by means of suitable keywords, to select a sub-file of accidents which match the industry, processes, hardware and chemicals in their own workplace, and (ii) identify, from the descriptive text of each accident record in the subfile, how the accident occurred, so that future accidents in their own workplaces may be anticipated. All serious injuries should also be scanned for hardware solutions, which should be incorporated in national and international standards. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSafety Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


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