Hazard Assessments Research identifies risk of exposure to workplace hazards

To properly identify an individual’s or group’s potential exposure to workplace hazards, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education analyzes longitudinal data, assessing both chemical and radiation exposures and conducting hazard assessments for both internal and external radiation.

Hazard assessments consist of:

  • Linking exposure data to site rosters;
  • Assessing retrospective exposures;
  • Preparing chemical and radiological exposure assessment protocols;
  • Designing and testing chemical and radiological dose assignment protocols;
  • Evaluating monitoring programs/procedures; and/or
  • Reconstructing retrospective plant operations and health and safety programs.

One historical example of an ORISE assessment, conducted along with collaborators, evaluated health outcomes among nuclear technology workers at the Rocketdyne/Atomics International (AI) Santa Susana Field Laboratory employed between 1948 and 1999. Both internal and external radiation doses were considered to produce organ-specific doses. Additionally, employees’ career exposures pre- and post-Rocketdyne/AI employment were incorporated in the analysis.

The Rocketdyne/AI assessment was unique because comprehensive dose histories were included in the analysis. Without considering all sources of occupational exposure, an incorrect characterization of worker exposure could have occurred with the potential to bias epidemiologic results. This research was published in Health Physics: The Radiation Safety Journal.