Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Probabilistic Safety Assessment & Management (PSAM)
Risk-Informed Decision Making: Occupational Risk
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The population of the Netherlands spends seven million person years per year on their job. Each year some 167000 persons are injured to the extent that they are at least a day absent from work. The number of deaths is on average 84 per year. These injuries and deaths cause suffering and distress to the victims and to their relatives. They also cost the Netherlands' society a sizable amount of money in the form of sick leave payments, medical treatment and labor replacement costs.
The traditional approach to efforts to reduce these numbers is based on observations by inspectors of what causes accidents and the making of rules and regulations to prevent further occurrence. Also much effort has been spent in attempts to communicate the importance of working safely. These efforts by nature are aimed at preventing accident causes from the past. However, there are not many instruments to assess potential underlying causes of accidents, which could form the basis for policies aimed at preventing future incidents and accidents.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) has embarked on a project to identify as far as possible these underlying causes and quantify the contribution of these causes to accident genesis. The results of this and other safety improvement projects of the Ministry will be used to underpin a nation wide campaign aimed at improving occupational safety.
The project described here is an effort to construct an Occupational Risk Model (ORM). This model will allow companies, government or industry representatives to assess the occupational risks for individual workers and for sections of the workforce and identify cost effective risk reduction strategies.
The project has four main parts: assembling and analyzing accident data, generalization of these data into a logical risk model, deriving improvement strategies and their costs and assessing cost effective improvement strategies. The project builds on previous work executed with support from SZW and the European Union, such as the IRISK and AVRIM projects. The experiences and knowledge developed in the projects is combined and enhanced to get to the ORM.
This paper describes the total concept of the model and the relationships between the components. It also gives the main results of the project in terms of the major contributors to the occupational risk in the Netherlands.
Other papers in the conference will be dedicated to a more detailed description of some of the underlying developments. Among these are the Storybuilder, a tool specifically designed to analyze accident data in a consistent way, the Bow-Tie builder, which is used to construct the model that links the causes of accidents with their consequences in a logical and consistent manner and the Optimizer which is used to perform cost benefit balancing.