Prospects and pitfalls of occupational hazard mapping: Between these lines there be dragons

Kirsten A. Koehler, John Volckens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Hazard data mapping is a promising new technique that can enhance the process of occupational exposure assessment and risk communication. Hazard maps have the potential to improve worker health by providing key input for the design of hazard intervention and control strategies. Hazard maps are developed with aid from direct-reading instruments, which can collect highly spatially and temporally resolved data in a relatively short period of time. However, quantifying spatial-temporal variability in the occupational environment is not a straightforward process, and our lack of understanding of how to ascertain and model spatial and temporal variability is a limiting factor in the use and interpretation of workplace hazard maps. We provide an example of how sources of and exposures to workplace hazards may be mischaracterized in a hazard map due to a lack of completeness and representativeness of collected measurement data. Based on this example, we believe that a major priority for research in this emerging area should focus on the development of a statistical framework to quantify uncertainty in spatially and temporally varying data. In conjunction with this need is one for the development of guidelines and procedures for the proper sampling, generation, and evaluation of workplace hazard maps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-840
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Occupational Hygiene
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Bayesian statistics
  • aerosols
  • direct-reading instruments
  • exposure assessment
  • exposure assessment methodology
  • exposure variability
  • radiation
  • risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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