Dental Courses Australia

Occupational Hazard Assessment Process

The general perspective is that all dental practices face the same kinds of hazard and should adopt one structure for creating a healthy clinical environment. In actuality, while dental workers are exposed to numerous and varying hazards in the workplace throughout the performance of their functions, the degree and type of exposure depends on the combination and type of services that they function in, specific tasks and the type of patients or clients that they attend to.

To develop an effective and fully apt health and safety program, identification and assessment of one‟s clinical structure is imperative (see Toxicology, Risk Assessment and Pollution Map on the left as a reference to determining occupational hazards within an existing structure). The following steps must be taken in order to assess workplace hazards in a systematic manner:

1. Identify and enumerate daily activities and work-related tasks that take place in the clinic. List them down into categories that you see fit (i.e. person responsible for task).

2. Mark off potential chemical, biological, psychological and physical hazards entailed by each task.

3. Consider how severe the consequences of the exposure will be, the probability of the exposure‟s occurrence as well as the frequency of the specific functions.

4. Elimination or reduction of risk will depend greatly on the ability to identify controls. Make sure to pinpoint and follow the proper control hierarchy. Usually, this means that the most effective are engineering, with administrative controls (such as rules and training) following next and lastly, personal protective equipment or PPE.

5. Research and implement the appropriate controls for existing hazards.

6. Make sure you have a sound communication structure within your team, as it is important to communicate the required controls and hazard assessments, as well as to get feedback.

7. Document and evaluate the controls consistently to ensure effectiveness over time.

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