HFS203 Environmental Hazards And Toxiocology

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HFS203 Environmental Hazards And Toxiocology

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HFS203 Environmental Hazards And Toxiocology

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Course Code: HFS203
University: Singapore University Of Social Sciences

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Country: Singapore

Perception of risk is a key factor in the behaviour displayed by those expose to risk, the Royal Society (1992) report defined perception as: “People’s beliefs, attitudes, judgements and feelings, as well as the wider cultural and social dispositions they adopt towards hazards and their benefits”. From the literature, four key areas can be identified that influence an individual’s perception of risk, these are psychological, social, institutional and cultural factors. (Slovic, 2000). 
In this assignment, based on a specific industry/sector, choose a specified risk of your choice and critically appraise the impact of factors such as psychological, social, institutional and cultural factors that may account in the variation on the perception and communication of risk, and compare the effectiveness on the various approaches to the communication of risk as part of risk management strategies. You can refer to local legislations and guidelines on the approach to risk management. 

The management of risk and the identification it on different levels, points towards the inspection of the probability and the results too. Still people with the inclusion of the experts as well, vary in all their perceptions particularly with respect to the probability and the results of the actions. The risks are mostly rated inconsistently as the consequence. The risk assessment at the workplace gives little consideration to the variations in how one can assess exposure, probability, consequence and complete risk. The research is linked with OHS and focuses on the management of the safety of workers with small concern for the subjective interpretation of safety risks and impacts. The risk concept is incepted for helping the people and to cope up with the danger and the uncertain situations. The risk perception although is never stable and it differs with both people and the situation. This report discusses about the perception of risks particularly in the construction industry which is related to falling from high heights and the factors that influence the perception of risk (Oswald et al., 2014).
Industry – Construction
The construction industry gives a lot of diversification of the urbanization in the global world. While it gives the world beautiful buildings and architecture, it is also considered as one of the most dangerous industries in the world. The reason of it being dangerous is that there are a lot of accidents that are caused in this industry particularly falling from heights. This report shares the data and information related to this industry and falling from heights and the consequences.
Risk Perception
Falls from Heights on Construction Sites Data
There are number of accidents which occur due to high fall like the one shown in the figures on year to year basis. These fatal accidents are showing reduction from the year 1997 to 2000, though; they again rise up and returned to the 1997 to 2000.  Mostly accidents show the injuries in accidents that show the pattern that is opposite and reaches to the peak in 1998 and reducing in 1997. The injuries remained steady and made the average of around 350 accidents per year (Jayasudha, 2016).

Figure 1: High Fall Fatal: Major over 3 injuries in 1997 to 2000.
Source: (Hse.gov, 2003)
With low falls, criticality of the injuries is most likely to become the functioning of the share of body which comes in contact with the ground. However, there are more meaningful trends that most likely consequence from analyzing the 3 criticalities of the injuries altogether. It is shown in the coming figures.

Figure 2: High Fall in Construction between 1997- 2000.
Source: (Hse.gov, 2003)
In figure above, there is the occupation of the workers is shown who had accidents. In those occupations, the construction workers are in huge number or biggest group with about 1500 accidents altogether. In very particular occupations, there are actually two distinct groups: which are linked with regular work at height like roof, steeple etc. and which are linked with fit out trades like carpenter, joiner, painter etc. In the first group i.e. in construction, working from heights is majorly important and very common.

Figure 3: High Fall accidents in Construction 1997-2000
Source: (Hse.gov, 2003)
The type of work processes are shown in the above figure.  With the lower falls, the most dominant one is on site transfers work process. They show the activities which occur on site. From the recognizable work processes, roofing and scaffolding are the ones which are most important and accounts for about 520 to 450 accidents. The work which involved roofing clearly shows accidents in more numbers and the number turns out to be 535.

Figure 4: Accidents by work process in 1997-2000.
Source: (Hse.gov, 2003)
In the below figure, there are shown the agents which are responsible for the accidents.  There have been ladders which are involved in the accidents in a much more number as compared to others. Then the most numbers after ladders are taken by roofing and the scaffolding.  Roofs are the ones which are tangled in the 3rd largest number of total accidents which occurs at workplace in the world. These accidents occur by either falling from them or from the edges of the roofs that are fragile. There are in about 800 accidents in total when it comes to work areas and work platforms related to the ladders and roofing.

Figure 5: Accidents by Agent in 1997-2000
Source: (Hse.gov, 2003)
Now it comes the time to discuss about the age of the workers those who went through the accidents once in their lifetime. In the below diagram, there is age shown of the workers. It actually matches the accidents which might happen from the low height as well. As one can see, the peak of the accidents did happen in the age 25-39 and also the peak goes down when it comes to the age of 45-54. Hence, it can be easily claimed that the maximum number of accidents occur with the people of the age group who are young or in their 30’s by average.

Figure 6: Accidents by Age factor in 1997-2000
Source: (Hse.gov, 2003)
The below figure shows:  high fall accidents in construction industry specifically in terms of the employment status.

Figure7: Accidents by employment Status in 1997-2000
Source: (Hse.gov, 2003)
Factors Influencing the Risk Perception
Social Factors:  There are some of the social factors that might influence the risk perception.

To establish if the associations in between risk preference and the perceived risk supports and explains how preferences in personal risk affects the perception in public in terms of the society(Zheng & Shi, 2009).
To establish if the government and the type of help that they receive from the government provides some kind of contribution to the society in terms of the risk perception and helps in the explanation of the public reviews in social hazards.
To establish if the social justice can influence the perception of public in societal risk and explains as to how the public views societal incidents impacts the perception of risk(Khosravi, 2014).

Cultural Factors: The cultural factors that might influence the risk perception can be explained by cultural theory of risk. There are two major features of Douglas’s work that informs the basic structure of cultural theory. First of the two features is the general account of the social function of the human being of societal dangers. The individuals that Douglas maintained always linked societal harms be it sickness or famine to natural catastrophes with the conduct that misbehaves in societal norms (HSE.Gov, 2003). This type of linking according to Douglas plays an important role in the promotion of the particular social structures both by instilling the society’s members with hatred to rebellious behavior and by emphasizing on the guilt and blame on the people who challenge such institutions (Cezar-Vaz, 2012). The second features of him are a certain account of form of competing structures of the social organization assumptions. He always tried and maintains that cultural ways of life and linked outlooks can be characterized with two dimensions that she called grid and group. The high group way of life displays a huge degree of the collective control while a low group displays a lower one. The high grid of life is featured by conspicuous and durable forms of stratification in roles and dominance while low grid claims the more egalitarian ordering.
Psychosocial Factors: The industry of construction is generally know to be as one of the dangerous industries as compared to all other industries as safety is a huge burden due to safety services and that are poor. The psychosocial and psychological factors are mostly similar when it comes to the influencing of the risk perception (Finucane & Holup, 2005). These factors are strongly linked with the attitude of the workers, satisfaction level, the performance, commitment and motivation yet it also links with the supervisors, environment in work and organizational relations. The cases of the accidents involves the behaviors of the workers, the conditions of working, process of working, load of work, satisfaction of job, clarity of the role of worker, mental stress etc. The factors of the organization like condition of working and load of work is negatively linked with the satisfaction of job. If there is excessive work load and very poor conditions of working, it leads directly to low job satisfaction. The organization relations indicate the significance of the job satisfaction (Knoll, 2015).
Psychological Factors:

Characteristics of Job: This point covers the productivity of the pressures, mostly pressures from the customers for short production time and workers in construction feels that they have multiple jobs that are to be finished in small span of time. There are poor conditions of weather and that can also be a source of stress as rain and snow could delay the deadline of the project and hence, it can also create pressure(Portell et al., 2014).
Role in firms: The skills which are not utilized can become the issues in construction and therefore it does not make sense for the workers to keep on working in existing jobs as this can also be a source of stress(Chionis, 2018).
Job Prospects: There can be insecurities in terms of the job which is more of a psychological influencer in risk perception.
Factors of the firm: In case of the lack of any information, there can be a lag in the decision making which might harm any worker in terms of accidents and injuries like falling from heights etc.(Idrees & Hafeez, 2017).

Theories in Risk perception
Protection Motivation Theory:
This is one of the theories which are considered to be most important in risk perception. This theory suggests that people mostly will protect themselves whenever they will see negative consequences. People always desire to avoid any kind of risks (Bohm, 2010). This theory claims that there is a link in between the risk perception and accidents and injuries. As per this theory, the risk perception and the usage of personal protective equipment increase when the workers have the reason for the concern and most of the times because of the past incidents (Sementics, 2000).
Risk Compensation Theory
This theory is another theory which lets people know as to why people take risks. This theory suggests that people tend to take more risks when they feel a sense of security. Therefore, it can also be said that the risks taking factors depends on the security of the job or surroundings. Majorly this theory is related to the transportation field and their safety (Leiter & Zanaletti, 2009).
Situated Rationality Theory
This theory says that it is wrong to assume that safe behaviors are logical and the behaviors shown in high risk are not logical. In simple words, there is always the explanation of the people as to why they take risks and that can be explained in details before assuming that the people who take risks are simply crazy or out of their mind (Zhao et al., 2016).
Habituated Action Theory
This theory suggests that involving in high risk behavior most of the times with no negative outcome most probably decreases the risk perceived linked with this type of behavior (Hallowell, 2010). People who keep on performing high risk action with no wrong or dangerous consequences at last will become desensitized to risk.
Social Action Theory
This theory has many actions but if talked about in terms of the risks, it suggests that people take risks due to social pressure or the society on the whole as they take that activity to be at low risk. The person taking the risk can easily be manipulated to take the risk and use of unsafe behavior by letting him know that other people are also dong it or that the society does not feel that this particular task is unsafe. This theory also advices that the social meaning linked with the high risk behavior is something that drives and encourages people to engage in them (Campbell, 2017).
Risk Communication
The industry in construction mostly operates mainly as the system of sub contracting and purpose built alliances. There are always wide range of stakeholders who are included in building a project via typical stages like design, finance, build, manage, upgrade and lastly replacement and a corresponding requirement for the communication and also support. The experts who can stop bridges from falling down or the one who is responsible for building a 20 story building are seen as hardnosed action people who actually help in developing the modern era. There are activities and some disciplines that support people in achieving the types of construction achievements which have been the hallmarks of the 20th century and in 21st centaury too. Many of these are called as soft disciplines and they are about how people helps others, mostly highly skilled, achieve the construction and the engineering goals (Ceric, 2012).
The major elements are consultation and communication in construction industry. The strategies in communication must be based on a thorough knowledge of the methods that humans cooperate in joint undertakings, the major principles of social learning theory and the methods in which people deliver, accept and understand words and images. The principles of organization and environmental psychology have become a base fundamental of modern business actions from management and firm strategy to the marketing and user relation and also to the improvement of working and living atmospheres (Aulich, 2013). However, it is not often for a mature field like construction for adopting or testing the disciplines for guidance about either strategies or operations. It all is despite the fact that this industry is almost completely based on the values of sub-contracting, business and professional alliances. And all these need the understanding of the environmental psychology and community dynamics so as to build the trust, image, teamwork and job satisfaction. Hence, there is a major need of communication for becoming systematic, understanding the stakeholders and then these things are maturely applied (Ceric, 2012). There are number of approaches used in Risk communication. Out of them one of the approaches is Community Partnership approach and the other is Functional approach.
This report focuses on the risk perception and risk communication in the construction industry. It specifically talks about the falling from heights and the other accidents in the construction industries.   It represents the graphs on different parameters like employment status, agents, age etc and displays the numbers of high falls that people had gone through in terms of injuries and accidents. It also talks about the factors that influence risk perception. The factors are social, cultural, psychosocial and psychological. In addition to that this report discusses about various theories of risk perception. Risk communication is defined and it is discussed a little bit in terms of the construction industry.
Aulich, T., 2013. The role of effective communication in the construction industry. Construction economics and building, 13(4).
Bohm, J., 2010. Risk Perception and Risk-Taking Behavior of Construction Site Dumper Drivers. of Construction Site Dumper Drivers , 16(1), pp.55-67.
Campbell, 2017. Risk Perception: Theories, Sytrategies, and Next Steps. [Online] Available at: https://www.thecampbellinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Campbell-Institute-Risk-Perception-WP.pdf [Accessed 3 August 2018].
Ceric, A., 2012. Communication risk in contruction projects: Application of principal agent theory, o r g a n i z a t i o n, t e ch n o l o g y a n d m a n a g e m e n t i n c o n s t r u c t i o n · a n i n t e r n a t i o n a l j o u r n a l, 4(2).
Ceric, A., 2012. Communication risk in contruction projects: application of principal-agent theory. [Online] Available at: https://bib.irb.hr/datoteka/609927.EPOC_2010-2011-2012_June_7.pdf [Accessed 3 August 2018].
Cezar-Vaz, M.R., 2012. Risk Perception and Occupational Accidents: A Study of Gas. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9, pp.2362-77.
Chionis, D., 2018. Differences in Risk Perception Factors and Behaviours amongst and within Professionals and Trainees in the Aviation Engineering Domain. Aerospace, 5(62).
Finucane, M.L. & Holup, J.L., 2005. Psychosocial and cultural factors affecting the perceived risk of genetically modified food: an overview of the literature. Social Science & Medicine, 60, pp.1603-12.
Hallowell, M., 2010. Safety risk perception in construction companies in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. Construction Management and Economics, 28(4), pp.403-13.
HSE.Gov, 2003. Falls from height – Prevention and risk control effectiveness. BOMEL Limited.
Idrees, D. & Hafeez, M., 2017. Psychological Factors Affecting the Perception of Personal Safety of Construction Workers in a Developing Country. International Journal of Scientific Engineering and Research, 62(86), pp.2347-3878.
Jayasudha, K., 2016. Analysis of major risks in construction projects. ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 11(11).
Khosravi, Y., 2014. Factors Influencing Unsafe Behaviors and Accidents on Construction Sites: A Review. International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, 20(1), pp.111-25.
Knoll, L.J., 2015. Social Influence on Risk Perception During Adolescence. Psychological Science, 26(5), pp.583-92.
Leiter, M.P. & Zanaletti, W., 2009. Occupational Risk Perception, Safety Training, and Injury Prevention: Testing a Model in the Italian Printing Industry. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14(1), pp.1-10.
Oswald, D., Sherratt, F. & Smith, S., 2014. Risk perception and safety behaviour: an ethnographic study. Researchgate.
Portell, M., Gil, R.M., Losilla, J.M. & Vives, J., 2014. Characterizing Occupational Risk Perception: the Case of Biological, Ergonomic and Organizational Hazards in Spanish Healthcare Workers. Spanish Journal of Psychology, 17(51), pp.1-12.
Sementics, P., 2000. From Risk Perception to Safe Behaviour. [Online] Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b059/cec88ae304328725bad0e13e7dee42c62f73.pdf [Accessed 3 August 2018].
Zhao, D. et al., 2016. Stakeholder Perceptions of Risk in Construction. Saf Sci, 82, pp.111-19.
Zheng, R. & Shi, K., 2009. The Influence Factors and Mechanism of Societal Risk Perception. [Online] Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d0a6/78745e4d56e96dd89858d184d17a6bf487ff.pdf [Accessed 3 August 2018].

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