Are the current recommended control measures for managing workplace exposure to Hexavalent Chromium sufficient and what impact does Health and Safety culture have on this?
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In 2002, The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations replaced previous legislation in an attempt to make understanding the requirements and duties it places on employers an easier task whilst also ensuring the implementation of adequate safety measures in the workplace to reach legal compliance. Whilst the practices set out by this legislation are suggested based on evidence from years of research and viewed as sufficient in managing workplace exposures, there exists other research that suggests that these recommended methods of control, though deemed adequate and successful at mitigating levels of exposure when properly implemented, are reliant on other factors such as employee behaviour, risk perception and the wider organisational Health and Safety culture. Research argues that without the existence of a positive safety culture within an organisation with inter tier communication and buy in, risk taking behaviours in employees can and do occur. As a result of these disparities in research, this paper has reviewed evidence from research published through the past two decades in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the recommended methods of control, introduced in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations 2002, with considerations for effects of organisational safety culture, to best offer suggestions on how to implement better practices when managing exposure to Hexavalent Chromium. This research had found that whilst recommended management options have been concluded and published in legislation as well as a multitude of other documents, there exists a requirement for further empirical studies based within the metal fabrication and manufacturing industry to assess the effectiveness of the exposure control methods in practice as well as the effects had by individual organisational safety cultures, behaviours and perceptions.
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