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Integration of Pollution Prevention and Occupational Health and Safety

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Publication Date: January 2000

Publisher(s): Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute

Author(s): Rafael Moure-Eraso; Karla Armenti

Topic: Environment (Pollution and environmental degradation)
Labor (Occupational health and safety)
Manufacturing and industry (Computer and electronics industry)

Keywords: pollution prevention; occupational health; electronics manufacturing

Type: Report

Coverage: Massachusetts

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the occupational health impact of pollution prevention interventions designed to prevent environmental hazards. While traditionally there have been divergent paths of practice for occupational and environmental health concerns, the two are closely connected. It is important, however, to consider the implications of risk transfer between the general and work environment. In order to avoid this risk shifting, OHS perspectives and goals must be more clearly incorporated into TUR legislation and training, making sure to always consider the effects of TUR and P2 on occupational safety and health. In turn, TUR and P2 must also be incorporated into OHS programs designed to promote hazard prevention as opposed to hazard control.

While some environmental programs have included attention to OHS, such as Massachusetts' TURA, and EPA's Design for the Environment, OHS intervention programs seldom include simultaneous consideration of environmental hazards. There is a need to join the objectives of prevention-driven strategies such as toxics use reduction with similar work environment strategies to prevent occupational injury and illness.

This study has been an attempt to begin discussion around the effects of environmental intervention programs on occupational safety and health. We realize now that while
P2/TUR reduces exposure to toxic substances in the general environment, it also offers unique opportunities to reaffirm primary prevention principles in occupational health.