3.5 Management of health and safety impacts

The HSIA identifies the potential impacts and recommends measures that will minimise negative impacts or enhance positive impacts through the development and implementation of a health and safety management plan. The recommendations need to be reviewed, and that is most effective if the review is completed in partnership with other stakeholders, including the communities affected. The actions identified in the plan should be:

  • implementable
  • proven to work
  • socially and culturally acceptable to the community
  • cost-effective.

3.5.1 Controls and interventions

It is always more effective to prevent harm occurring than to simply react to it. Therefore, the hierarchy of measures to be considered is similar to the hierarchy of control used in WHS. Table 3.6 outlines a hierarchy of controls or interventions for community health and safety issues and some examples. The type of control or intervention used differs according to:

  • the nature of the hazard
  • the location of the community (developed versus developing country)
  • the level of involvement (passive versus active)
  • whether the intervention is sole or partnered
  • workforce planning
  • families and relationships
  • the nature of the community (Indigenous or otherwise).

Table 3.6: Hierarchy of interventions for community health and safety

AVOID Design the project so that a feature that may cause a potential negative health impact is designed out. For example, reroute a road and provide a footpath for pedestrians and safe places to cross, or prevent stagnant pools of water in which mosquitoes can breed forming on the site.
REDUCE At project site (source): This involves adding something to the basic design to abate the impact. Pollution controls fall into this category (for example, reduce emissions from chimney stacks by using air filters).
In community (receptor): Some impacts cannot be avoided or reduced at the project site. In this case, measures can be implemented offsite in the community (for example, provide safe crossing points on busy roads and reduce traffic speeds near settlements).
REMEDY Some impacts involve unavoidable damage to a resource, which then needs repair or remedial treatment (for example, provide medical treatment for a chemical spillage, replace a water well lost during construction or remediate contaminated land).
COMPENSATE Where other mitigation approaches are not possible or fully effective, compensation for loss, damage and general intrusion might be appropriate. This could be ‘in kind’, such as by planting new food crops elsewhere to replace what has been lost, by making financial payments for losses of productive farming land, or by providing community facilities to compensate for the loss of recreation and amenity space.

Source: ICMM (2010).

3.5.2 Monitoring

Monitoring health outcomes and health determinants is a critical part of a successful health and safety management plan for stakeholders and communities. Having baseline health information as part of the HSIA provides an effective reference to identify positive and negative impacts and key indicators. There may be stakeholders and other service providers who are collecting relevant information, and data sharing may be possible. Where this is not possible, information relevant to the key indicators will need to be collected. The key indicators need to relate to the direct and indirect health effects identified in Table 3.5.

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