Watching from the latter half of the 18th century, The development era of the Industrial Revolution to the present 21st century the digital era the humans had evolved a lot and will continue to do so.
And as with humans, the environment has also evolved due to many reasons and the main cause of the environmental risk is most probably the humans!
Extreme temperature, weather events, toxic waves, radiation or diseases, and many more, all are the environmental risks that are caused.
What are environmental hazards?
Every activity of humans has an impact on the environment either friendly or adverse, more likely they are adverse that are unnoticed or ignored.
Digitalization and industrialization can be said as the major cause of environmental hazards as
building industries near water bodies to drain out the waste harmful chemicals for the disposal in water bodies which causes water pollution, health issues for the people consuming contaminated water and for the aquatic animals too.
The narrow introduction to environmental hazards:
• The ability of a substance, factors, or act to harm humans and the environment is termed an environmental Hazard.
• Hazards can be naturally occurred or by the initiation of a human being’s act or industrialization.
Types of environmental hazards:
1. Biological hazards
2. Chemical hazards
3. Electrical hazards
4. Ergonomic hazards
5. Air Pollution Hazard
6. Contaminated water hazard
7. Noise Pollution (Noise and Vibration Hazard)
Let’s review each risk in detail.
Biological hazards may happen due to improper handling of bio or medical waste. A person/employee coming in close contact with contaminated bio-waste or medical waste or biometric scan where each employee has to scan fingerprints is considered a biological hazard.
In the chemical and manufacturing industries handling harmful and non-harmful chemicals is very common. Few toxic and harmful chemicals cause health risks to the employees. Toxic, non-toxic flammable, non-flammable, and non-flammable chemicals (gaseous form or in semi-solid or solid-state) are widely used in laboratories, homes, industries, and more. Exposure to a substance like toxic vapors/fumes, chemical smells, chemical smell inhalation, corrosives can be very harmful to employees. Working in such a hazardous environment degrades employees’ health over the time period.
Poor posture, poor ergonomics set-up, repetitive motion cause the risk to employees. Poor ergonomics posture may lead to injuries such as ligament failure, injuries in muscle, spinal cord, or other musculoskeletal disorders. 5S or 6S techniques help to reduce ergonomics hazards. Ergonomics assessment is very important to avoid workspace or musculoskeletal disorders.
Electrical hazards include fires due to electrical sparking and electrical shocks. Electrical hazards may result in a minor or major accident (permanent disability or death). Improper routing of wiring harness/power cables, loose-fitting plugs, or improper grounding leads to electrical hazards. Working close to high voltage lines (indoor or outdoor) is a greater risk of electrical hazards.
Air pollution is a greater risk to human beings, animals, and plants. Growing industrialization increased vehicles and shrinking green corridor/jungle leading to air pollution. Air pollution leads to severe health issues such as respiratory infection, heart disease, eye irritation, skin diseases, lung cancer. Harmful substances in the air such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, dust, and dirt cause air pollution
Water Pollution / Contaminated Water Hazard
There are many man-made causes that lead to water pollution. Eg. Industrial waster water, poor sewage systems, usage of fertilizers, and plastic waste cause water pollution.
Noise Pollution (Noise & Vibration Hazard)
Like air and water pollution, human beings, animals do suffer due to noise pollution. Increased civilization, transportation, industrialization, increased construction sites lead to an increase in noise pollution. Noise pollution leads to sleeping disorders, hearing problems, heart disease, hypertension, poor mental health. Eg. Borewell drilling, concrete compacting, drilling hole, train transportation contributes noise as well as vibration.
What is environmental risk assessment (ERA)?
The process of evaluating and predicting the adverse impact on the environment ensuing human undertakings and initiations is known as Environment risk assessment (ERA). Different national agencies have different courses of action and techniques to calculate the risk assessment.
Environmental risk assessment example
- Soil Contamination risk assessment
- Contaminated Water risk assessment
- Dust & Dirt (Dust inhalation) risk assessment
- Ingestion of contaminated food risk assessment
- Biological hazards risk assessment
- Ergonomic hazards risk assessment
- Electrical hazards risk assessment
ISO 14001:2015 is the most commonly used standard in the industry. This standard helps the organization to conduct environmental risk assessments.
The environmental hazards are increasing day by day which has the worse effect on humans and
the environment. Environmental risk and hazard must be assessed and corrective or preventive measures implemented in order to eliminate and reduce environmental risk.