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Occupational Health and Safety

The Occupational Health and Safety Specialty Group (OHSSG) provides a forum for discussion of work place risks. Workers often face the most severe risks encountered by people during their lives. Although exposure duration is limited to the work-day, the concentrations and stressors encountered may be orders of magnitude greater than those encountered elsewhere. The OHSSG includes a diverse range of professionals from risk assessors, safety professionals, industrial hygienists, epidemiologists, toxicologists, and chemists to address these problems.

The prevailing levels of risk of disease, injury, and stress in the workplace tend to be three or more orders of magnitude higher than corresponding risks in the non-work environment. The economic burden from occupational disease, injury, and death are immense, both to workers, their families, employers, and society as a whole. Because workplace exposures are often higher and somewhat easier to assess, occupational cohorts have been the source of much of the raw data for environmental risk assessment.

Science-policy issues are particularly prominent with occupational health and safety. For example there are ethical issues relating to genetic screening and monitoring, risk spreading through dose/time adjustments, hazard thresholds, and wage-risk tradeoffs in employment which are very complex. OHSSG members also consider risk transfer, residual risk, and development and use of Bayesian inference and hazard banding tools. Our understanding of worker health also includes the increased understanding of cumulative risk, combining both risks inside and outside of the work place. 

OHSSG members work in a diverse range of arenas, including public policy, academia, research, industry, business, government, and consulting. Our Specialty Group harnesses SRA’s full arsenal of risk expertise including risk analysis, assessment, communication, benefit-cost analysis, and risk management. We generate and foster thought-leading discussions that impact both SRA members, and occupational health and safety professionals more broadly, beyond SRA through our member’s participation in other health science affiliated associations. Our members are committed to raising risk awareness, and the quality of risk-related practices in occupational health and safety.