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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 891754, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/891754
Research Article

Subjective Risk Assessment and Perception in the Greek and English Bakery Industries

1Department of Public Health, Medical School, University of Patras, 26500 Patras, Greece
2School of Environment & Life Sciences, University of Salford, Manchester M5 4WT, UK
3Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical School, University of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece
4Department of Production and Management Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Demokritos University of Thrace, 67100 Xanthi, Greece

Received 19 April 2009; Revised 10 August 2009; Accepted 25 September 2009

Academic Editor: Issam Al-Khatib

Copyright © 2009 Evangelos C. Alexopoulos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Several factors influencing risk perception in the area of occupational health and safety are known, but there is still lack of a full understanding of the ways in which people characterize risk. This study aimed to provide an insight of employee risk assessment and perception in the bakery industry. 87 British and 64 Greek employees in two comparable bakery companies were asked to estimate and evaluate hazards at their workplace. The participants' judgments of 12 hazards—according to 7 risk aspects—were collected and analyzed. Subjective assessment on important occupational hazards included handling heavy loads, repetitiveness, high temperatures, high rate of work, stressful deadlines, and noise. Although limited in the population involved, our findings revealed strong cross-national differences in employee risk perception of specific groups of hazards in the bakery industry. Additional interviews revealed evidence that Greek employees' risk perception depends mostly on work experience while British employees were aware of risks due to company health and safety policy, recognizing that safety is the responsibility of both the management and the worker. Cross-national (cultural) factors that influence workforce risk perception and attitudes towards safety have to be taken into account by technical experts and policy makers in the designing of prevention strategies and risk communication.