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Global Occupational Health$
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Tee L. Guidotti

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195380002

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380002.001.0001

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Physical Hazards

Physical Hazards

(p.142) 8 Physical Hazards
Global Occupational Health

Tee L. Guidotti

Oxford University Press

Physical hazards involve the release of energy in various forms: 1) noise, the most common and widespread physical hazard, can be continuous noise or impulse that can cause damage to the ear or deafness. 2) Vibration, either whole-body vibration or segmental vibration, which occurs when a particular body part is affected by vibrations from tools. 3) Pressure above or below atmospheric pressure in the workers' surroundings is associated with health risks in certain occupations, such as undersea diving and aviation. Conditions in the workplace may expose the worker to unusually high or low pressures. Examples are decompression sickness and high altitude sickness. 4) Temperature extremes are found in many occupations. The human body regulates its own internal level of heat, or core temperature, within a broad range through a variety of mechanisms (including sweating) but cannot adjust to extreme variations outside that range or when the mechanisms of adaptation are not working. 5) Ionizing radiation, either electromagnetic ionizing radiation (gamma radiation), or particle radiation. The major concern with exposure to ionizing radiation is severe tissue damage at very high levels and a risk of cancer in the future at lesser levels. 6) Nonionizing radiation consists of electromagnetic radiation of longer wavelengths when the energy level is too low to ionize atoms but sufficient to cause physical changes in cells. Ultraviolet radiation is the most common form and causes sunburn and prolonged exposure over time causes cataracts and skin cancer. Keywords: physical hazards, noise, vibration, pressure, temperature extremes, ionizing radiation, nonionizing radiation, ultraviolet radiation, tissue damage, cancer

Keywords:   energy, injury, noise, noise-induced hearing loss, impulse noise, vibration, whole-body vibration, segmental vibration, vibration vasculitis, “white finger disease”, hyperbaric pressure, decompression, high-altitude sickness, temperature, heat stress, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, dehydration, hyperthermia, cold stress, hypothermia, chilblains, frostbite, trench foot, immersion foot, ionizing radiation, alpha particle, beta particle, gamma radiation, radionuclide, electromagnetic, nonionizing radiation, light, lasers, infrared irradiation, microwave radiation, radiofrequency radiation, magnetic fields

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