Introduction

Many companies have started using risk assessment and prevention through design (PtD) to evaluate new and existing facilities and processes. The goal of PtD is to analyze the hazards and risks of different options and how the choice affects worker safety and the environment. The analysis covers conception through disposal of the facility or process and the risks at each stage. Ideally, hazards and risks affecting worker injuries, illnesses, and fatalities would be removed or minimized in the design phase of a new building or process. More often this is seen in the redesign of an existing facility or process.

Economic and operational pressure can challenge a company's ability to mitigate risk. For instance, a company that is growing quickly or is impacted by the economy may fall into the practice of managing day-to-day operations and merely complying with regulations. Management should take the time to step back and evaluate operational programs, work practices, and company culture as they influence the awareness and control of risk. A proactive risk management discipline, such as PtD, can guide the company to better practices and more thoughtful decisions regarding existing and emerging hazards.

This paper provides a review of the basic risk assessment process and Prevention through Design steps. It includes examples where the PtD principles were applied to facilities, tools, equipment, machinery, substances, and processes. The goal is to create a safer work environment from construction and installation through disposal by applying these principles.

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