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Unit IV Article Review

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Risk perception at work is actively studied, since the rate of mortality and injures at work is very high. Basic requirements of safe working conditions are standardized, and safe trainings are conducted at regular basis, however accidents happen. It can be explained by some adequacies in the risk perception. The best way to minimize the risk is to isolate workers from hazardous impacts; however, it is not always possible. Workers can be injured due to lack of experience, low awareness of the risk, inappropriate age, and uncomfortable equipment. Risk management should control all the risk-involving issues, including safe trainings and medical services.

The article “Psychology, Risk, and Safety” informs that people perceive the risk differently, and their perception is determined by such factors as personality, appraisal of the risk, and safety norms within their group. It also outlines the concept of risk with all its complexities and proposes to standardize the approach to risk management and review it on regular basis. Perception of the risk depends on the ability to identify its existence and deal with it. Some people face the risk and fight it whereas the others avoid it. Moreover, the risk can be exaggerated or underestimated. Responsibility, sociability, tolerance, and openness to experience predetermine the risk-taking behaviors. In addition, beliefs of a group to which a person belongs to can affect perception of the risk. For example, workers’ beliefs and their personal commitments differ from the managers’ view. Redesigning the working process and isolating workers from the hazardous impact can mitigate the risk (Cooper, 2003).    

The article “Assessment of Risk Perception of Ironworkers” is based on the survey conducted with the ironworkers in the United States. The fact that the rate of mortality in the contraction-related works is the highest explain the choice of the respondents. The accidents are caused by human errors, unsafe behavior, inappropriate interaction with materials and tools, and environmental factors. Findings of the survey were used for practical recommendations on the risk perception improvement. Thus, workers, who perceive their action as a specific type of dangerous task or who were involved in accidents earlier, are more careful at work. Consequently, the appropriate trainings with the detailed study of each task with its possible risk can raise the workers’ awareness. Moreover, anthropometric characteristics are very important for the design of personal protection equipment. If it is inconvenient and limits the movement, workers will ignore it. The survey shows that the average age of ironworkers is over 40 years; thus, it is necessary to employ younger staff to minimize the risk from physical fatigability. According to the respondents, more regular drug testing is even more helpful than the measures for job site safety. Finally, the safety incentive programs proved to be more efficient than the disciplinary measures. (Irizarry, 2006).

Both articles outline issues of the risk perception and provide recommendations on the risk mitigation, although their approaches are different. The first article is focused on psychological aspects and proves that control of the risk-taking behaviors can hardly be possible, since people perceive the risk differently. Risk management should focus on isolating workers from any hazardous impact by means of safe working conditions and regular control over the prescribed procedures. The second article emphasizes the importance of preventive measures in the form of appropriate trainings that give a sense of experience and alertness, similar to what is obtained after the accident. The other difference is the materials, used in the articles. The first article is based on theoretical concepts such as “Reciprocal Model of Risk Perception”, “Process View of Risk”, etc., whereas the second one is a survey with the findings and recommendations.

Risk perception is a very important issue since it relates to human lives. The basic instinct is to stay alive. However, people can hardly remain undamaged relying only on their risk perception in the construction, chemical, heavy machinery, and transport industries. Monotonous and dangerous processes, tension, stresses, and lack of experience can cause the loss of concentration and problems with health that might result in accidents. Thus, companies must take all measures to provide safe conditions and get assured that the workers are physically and mentally prepared for work. All these aspects need regular control and improvement; that is why, risk management is also very important.

Cast iron production is hazardous, since it involves manipulations with heavy ingots, liquid hot metal, high temperatures in the arc furnace (about 1,800 °C and higher), and transportation. Firstly, it would be very helpful to make the trainings less formal and more attractive to enhance efficiency. They must be more interactive and “brain teasing” for the steelmakers to remember them better. Secondly, the medical service should constantly observe workers during the work process standing at a safe distance in the shop or through the surveillance system. It will help to monitor the workers’ behavior, determine the potential risk-takers, and develop a risk prevention program.

To sum up, risk perception is critical for creating safe employment, especially in hazardous industries. Risk management should control effectiveness of the standardized safe measures and find ways of improving perception of the risk. Safe working conditions and personal protection equipment are basic requirements at any organization, whereas approach to safe training and medical services might be less formal and more efficient. Active involvement of workers can make trainings in safe issues more efficient, and medical preventive measure can save workers’ lives. 

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