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Apr 30, 2024

IE 8570: Health, Safety, and the Environment

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Class project: Risk Communication

The focus of the term project for this class is risk communication. For this project, you will need to

select one aspect of the course (mostly likely a topic in Module 3 or 4) and do the following activities related to

that topic. It does not need to relate to your job or your industry but should be something that you find

interesting. I am going to use an example of a forestry industry safety issues.

1. You are tasked with presenting this issue (e.g., forestry related injuries) to upper management. What are the

effects of the exposure, how might it be mitigated or controlled? You will need to discuss the health/safety

effects and potential for loss of work time, etc. What do you think are good PPE? Are they affordable? Should

the employee or the company provide the PPE? You will need to construct a means to communicate this to the

upper management (I foresee powerpoint presentations, but I know that some companies communicate in

memos etc., so other media will be accepted). You will need to create a convincing argument for continued

efforts in this area. For example, in my forestry industry example, if workers were not using spiked shoes, how

would you convince upper management that the investment in these shoes might actually help the company

financially? You may need to provide data in the presentation, so you can use data from governments or non-

profit organizations (NPOs) to help create your arguments, but this is not required.

2. You are also tasked with presenting this issue to workers on the plant floor (or forestry workers in my

example). This population of workers are those who are exposed to the risks, so it may be office workers if your

project applies to office environments, or machine operators, or welders etc. I expected this presentation to be

different in terms of how you communicate to this audience, compared to upper than to upper management.

Workers may not need to know about the injury rates and industry trends but do need to understand how to use

PPE and the health/safety effects that are associated with their job. How would they identify symptoms early to

seek medical care to mitigate long term or more severe effects (in the case of health outcomes) or identify safety

related situations before an accident occurs? I anticipate a powerpoint as well here, but memos, and other means

of communication are also acceptable.

3. You will also need to create a poster/flyer style quick risk communication signs specific to your issue and the

workers in the area. There are MANY posters available for occupational safety and health issues online, but a

lot of them are outdated, ineffective, and do not take into account the specific audiences in different areas or

industries. Do we really pay attention to a safety poster from the 1990s or even the 2010’s? For example, I

assume that a ‘break-room’ style poster would be completely ineffective to communicate to forestry workers.

Would a brochure that workers could take home be effective if you are discussing some chemical exposures that

the workers could take home to their families (via their person or clothing etc.)?

4. In addition to the actual risk communication materials you will need to submit a brief report (about 5 pages,

double spaced) about your strategy for these presentations, the sources of data and information, and what you

have learned about the topic. Please think carefully about how you communicate these issues to different

audiences. For example, things you should consider:

Do workers on the plant floor generally all speak the same language?

What do you think is the reading level of workers (or administrators)?

What kind of a presentation of information will hold someone’s attention?

Would the terms in our textbook be appropriate for communicate with these individuals?

How do you help both upper administration and workers identify safety/health issues and become


Expert Solution Preview

Risk communication is a crucial aspect of the Health, Safety, and Environment course (IE 8570). In this class project, students are required to select a specific topic from Module 3 or 4 and develop various communication materials targeting different audiences. The goal is to effectively convey the risks associated with the chosen topic, provide mitigation strategies, and engage both upper management and workers. The project includes presenting to upper management, delivering a presentation to workers on the plant floor, creating risk communication signs, and submitting a report outlining the strategy and learnings from the project.

Answer for each content:

1. When presenting the issue of forestry-related injuries to upper management, it is important to emphasize the health and safety effects of the exposure. This includes discussing the potential loss of work time and the financial impact on the company. To mitigate or control these effects, it is essential to recommend appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that can effectively reduce the risk of injuries. The affordability of PPE should also be taken into consideration. In terms of who should provide the PPE, it is recommended that the company takes responsibility for providing adequate PPE to ensure the safety of its employees. The means of communication can vary, but a PowerPoint presentation or a memo can be effective in presenting the arguments and data supporting the investment in safety measures.

2. When presenting the issue of forestry-related injuries to workers on the plant floor, the communication approach needs to be tailored to their specific needs and understanding. Instead of focusing on injury rates and industry trends, the presentation should concentrate on practical information about the proper use of PPE and the health and safety effects related to their job. It is essential to educate workers on how to identify early symptoms that require medical care to mitigate long-term or severe effects. The communication method can still include a PowerPoint presentation but should also consider alternative means such as memos or interactive sessions to engage workers effectively.

3. Creating poster/flyer-style quick risk communication signs specific to the issue and the workers in the area is an important part of the project. It is essential to avoid outdated or ineffective safety posters and consider the specific audience and industry. For example, using a break-room style poster may not effectively communicate with forestry workers. Instead, considering alternative communication materials such as brochures that workers can take home might be more effective, especially when discussing chemical exposures that can impact their families. The message should be clear, concise, and visually appealing to attract attention and promote understanding.

4. In addition to the risk communication materials, students are required to submit a brief report outlining their strategy for the presentations, the sources of data and information used, and the key learnings from the project. When communicating these issues to different audiences, several factors should be considered. It is important to assess the language proficiency of workers on the plant floor and choose a presentation format that accommodates various reading levels. The presentation of information should be engaging and capture the attention of the audience. The use of textbook terminology should be avoided if it is not appropriate for effective communication. To help engage both upper administration and workers, safety/health issues should be identified and presented in a way that resonates with their interests and concerns. The report should reflect thoughtful consideration of these factors and provide insights into effective risk communication strategies.

Note: The content mentioned in the question is not explicitly addressed in the provided description, so the answer is based on general principles of risk communication applicable to medical professionals.

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