Topical Collection "Risk Assessment and Management"

Editors

Prof. Dr. Lucian-Ionel Cioca
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Industrial Engineering and Management Department, Faculty of Engineering, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, 10 Victoriei Blv., 550024, Sibiu, Romania
Interests: management; human resources management; occupational health and safety management; production systems engineering; ergonomics; circular economy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Elena Cristina Rada
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Insubria University of Varese, Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences – DiSTA, Via G.B. Vico, 46, 21100, Varese, Italy
Universityof Trento, Department Engineering, Civil Environmental and Mechnical Engineering Department - DICAM, via Mesiano 77, 38123, Trento, Italy
Interests: waste management; urban mining; 4Rs; end-of-waste circular economy; CO2; economic impact; energy; renewable energy; efficiency; environmental pollution; air quality; environmental sustainability; public acceptance; safety and security
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Risk is defined as the chance of harmful effects to human health or to ecological systems resulting from exposure to an environmental stressor. Risk assessment encompasses three pillars; environmental concerns, social/cultural development, and economic dimensions in the built environment. The second pillar concerns risk assessment and also education. In order to enlarge the impact of this Special Issue, the authors are asked to submit works not only on risk assessment but also on risk management. Risk assessment allows defining priorities of intervention in many cases of concern. Risk management can integrate the previous item with the analysis of solutions aimed to protect human health from many pathways of human exposure. In particular, but not exclusively, these pathways can concern water, air, waste, sites to be remediated. The interest of this collection towards these pathways is related to the non-negligible effects on human health that can be found in spite to the compliance of regulations on environmental management. Safety and Health at Work is a topic that can focus on a particular aspect of risk. The purpose of this Special Issue is to enhance the knowledge of scientists, scholars, engineers, economists and graduate students on present ongoing research activities in order to exchange research ideas in the area of risk assessment and management. The Guest Editors will select high quality research to proceed with blind peer reviews. Reviewers will be selected among researchers active in the field, whose works are present in international databases.

Dr. Elena Cristina Rada
Prof. Dr. Lucian-Ionel Cioca
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Ecological Risk Assessment
  • Economic Risk Assessment
  • Environmental Risk Assessment
  • Human Health Risk Assessment
  • Safety and Health at Work
  • Risk Management
  • Risk Communication
  • Risk Assessment Education

Published Papers (38 papers)

2019

Jump to: 2018, 2017

Open AccessArticle
Environmental Risk Assessment of Accidental Pollution Incidents in Drinking Water Source Areas: A Case Study of the Hongfeng Lake Watershed, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5403; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195403 - 29 Sep 2019
Abstract
Accidental pollution incidents have caused a major threat to water safety of drinking water sources. However, few studies have focused on quantitative risk assessment of pollution incidents in a watershed which contains drinking water sources. A coupling model consisting of the Seveso III [...] Read more.
Accidental pollution incidents have caused a major threat to water safety of drinking water sources. However, few studies have focused on quantitative risk assessment of pollution incidents in a watershed which contains drinking water sources. A coupling model consisting of the Seveso III Directive, SWAT, and MIKE21 models was constructed for risk assessment of sudden pollution incidents at the watershed scale. The potential hazard of risk sources (e.g., industrial enterprises), the vulnerability of risk receptors (e.g., drinking water intakes), and the environmental risk of different sub-regions of the watershed were evaluated by this model. In addition, a case study was applied in Hongfeng Lake watershed (HLW), where the Hongfeng Lake drinking water source is located. The results showed that about 68% of the industrial enterprises in the HLW were potentially hazardous according to the Seveso III Directive, including 5 high hazard enterprises, 13 medium hazard enterprises, and 37 low hazard enterprises, most of which were concentrated in the coal mining, chemical production, and building material industries. The HLW was divided into the Yangchang River watershed (YRW), the Maiweng River watershed (MRW1), the Maxian River watershed (MRW2), the Houliu River watershed (HRW), and the lake area by the hydrological characteristics, among which, the vulnerability index of YRW was the largest. Besides, it was essential to consider the vulnerability assessment of drinking water intakes when conducting an environmental risk assessment in the HLW. Regional environmental risk grade of YRW, MRW1, MRW2, HRW, and the lake area was high, medium, low, low, and none, respectively. The environmental risk assessment results showed good consistency with the pollution characteristics and spatial distribution of industrial enterprises in the HLW. Furthermore, the theory of a three-level prevention system for “risk sources–water body connection–water intakes” was proposed for environmental risk management in the HLW. Overall, the case study in the HLW indicated that the coupling model proposed in this study had a good compatibility for environmental risk assessment of sudden water pollution incidents in a watershed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Agent-Based Modeling (ABM): Support for Emphasizing the Air Transport Infrastructure Dependence of Space Systems
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5331; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195331 - 27 Sep 2019
Abstract
Critical infrastructure is foundational for the prosperity and quality of life in any society. By definition, its destruction or disruption would cause severe damage and possibly loss of life. Within this understanding, space systems are a new category of critical infrastructure, emerging as [...] Read more.
Critical infrastructure is foundational for the prosperity and quality of life in any society. By definition, its destruction or disruption would cause severe damage and possibly loss of life. Within this understanding, space systems are a new category of critical infrastructure, emerging as an enabler of new applications which are critical within the wider system-of-systems. This paper presents the results of a modeling exercise validating the proof of concept regarding the idea of the global, air-transport-critical infrastructure’s dependence on space systems. By using an open-source application, the authors constructed a complex system made up of 18 airports for which six scenarios were modeled that represent either the exposure to specific space phenomena or the effects of a partial or total critical space infrastructure disruption. Despite the limitations and assumptions made in the building of this model, its results suggest that a significant impact would result from disruptive events, with the potential for cascading disruptions within the system, beyond the system under analysis, and into the wider system-of-systems. Tools such as this model are useful to policy- and decision-makers, not only to protect existing, critical infrastructures, but also to adequately source future risks, vulnerabilities, and threats, and design and build new infrastructures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Study of Environmental Assessment Methods in the Evaluation of Resources and Environmental Carrying Capacity—A Case Study in Xinjiang, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4666; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174666 - 27 Aug 2019
Abstract
Scientifically assessing the environmental carrying capacity (ECC) based on an evaluation of environmental quality standards (EQSs) holds great significance for establishing a long-term monitoring and early warning mechanism for resources and environmental carrying capacity (RECC) and for coordinating the sustainable development of ecological [...] Read more.
Scientifically assessing the environmental carrying capacity (ECC) based on an evaluation of environmental quality standards (EQSs) holds great significance for establishing a long-term monitoring and early warning mechanism for resources and environmental carrying capacity (RECC) and for coordinating the sustainable development of ecological environments and regional economies. However, it remains unclear whether the evaluation of EQSs based on the short board effect is suitable for environmental assessments under different natural environments. In this research, Xinjiang is used as a case study. Based on the evaluation of EQSs, the atmospheric environmental carrying capacity (AECC), water environmental carrying capacity (WECC) and comprehensive environmental carrying capacity (CECC) are assessed using the short board effect and the weighted average. Additionally, the suitability of ECC evaluation in RECC evaluation is discussed. The results show the following: (1) In the atmosphere, the overload of inhalable particles (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is more serious, while in water, the overload of total nitrogen (TN) is more serious. (2) The percentages of the AECC, WECC and CECC in overloaded counties and cities based on the short board effect are 84%, 45%, and 51%, respectively, while the percentages based on the weighted average are 32%, 6% and 7%, respectively. (3) The extreme effects of a single pollutant can be eliminated by the weighted average, which is more suitable for environmental assessments in Xinjiang. (4) In evaluating RECC monitoring and early warning systems, weighted average evaluation is used to assess the elements, and short board effect evaluation is used in the comprehensive integration to prevent the influence of the amplification of a single index. Thus, the interference of non-key factors in the regional system on the final evaluation results is reduced. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Assessment and Pressure Response Analysis of the Water Footprint of Agriculture and Livestock: A Case Study of the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Region in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3693; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133693 - 05 Jul 2019
Abstract
Excessive water consumption, associated with regional agriculture and livestock development and rapid urbanization, has caused significant stress to the ecological health and sustainable use of water resources. We used the water footprint theory to quantify the spatiotemporal characteristics and variation in the water [...] Read more.
Excessive water consumption, associated with regional agriculture and livestock development and rapid urbanization, has caused significant stress to the ecological health and sustainable use of water resources. We used the water footprint theory to quantify the spatiotemporal characteristics and variation in the water footprint of agriculture and livestock (WF-AL) in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region of China (2000–2016). We predicted the spatial distribution and sustainability of regional water resources at different levels of annual precipitation. Results showed that the average county WF-AL rose from 8.03 × 108 m3 in 2000 to 10.89 × 108 m3 in 2016. There was spatial heterogeneity compared to the average city WF-AL. The WF-AL varied between the mountains and the plains. The scale of the WF-AL was one of the main reasons for differences in the consumption and distribution of water resources. The development of regional water resources deteriorated from a stable state to an unstable state from 2000 to 2016. Only 5.8% of the areas maintained a stable state of water resources. Even in the predicted wet years, no improvements were found in the instability of water resources in four areas centered on the counties of Xinji, Daming, Luannan, and Weichang. To achieve a medium and long-term balance between WF-AL development and water resource recovery, the WF-AL should be limited and combined with reservoir and cross-regional water transfer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Assessment of Soil Erosion Based on CSLE and the 2010 National Soil Erosion Survey at Regional Scale in Yunnan Province of China
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3252; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123252 - 12 Jun 2019
Abstract
Regional soil loss assessment is the critical method of incorporating soil erosion into decision-making associated with land resources management and soil conservation planning. However, data availability has limited its application for mountainous areas. To obtain a clear understanding of soil erosion in Yunnan, [...] Read more.
Regional soil loss assessment is the critical method of incorporating soil erosion into decision-making associated with land resources management and soil conservation planning. However, data availability has limited its application for mountainous areas. To obtain a clear understanding of soil erosion in Yunnan, a pixel-based estimation was employed to quantify soil erosion rate and the benefits of soil conservation measures based on Chinese Soil Loss Equation (CSLE) and data collected in the national soil erosion survey. Results showed that 38.77% of the land was being eroded at an erosion rate higher than the soil loss tolerance, the average soil erosion rate was found to be 12.46 t∙ha−1∙yr−1, resulting in a total soil loss of 0.47 Gt annually. Higher erosion rates mostly occurred in the downstream areas of the major rivers as compared to upstream areas, especially for the southwest agricultural regions. Rain-fed cropland suffered the most severe soil erosion, with a mean erosion rate of 47.69 t∙ha−1∙yr−1 and an erosion ratio of 64.24%. Lands with a permanent cover (forest, shrub, and grassland) were mostly characterized by erosion rates an order of magnitude lower than those from rain-fed cropland, except for erosion from sparse woods, which was noticeable and should not be underestimated. Soil loss from arable land, woodland and grassland accounted for 52.24%, 35.65% and 11.71% of the total soil loss, respectively. We also found significant regional differences in erosion rates and a close relationship between erosion and soil conservation measures adopted. The CSLE estimates did not compare well with qualitative estimates from the National Soil Erosion Database of China (NSED-C) and only 47.77% of the territory fell within the same erosion intensity for the two approaches. However, the CSLE estimates were consistent with the results from a national survey and local assessments under experimental plots. By advocating of soil conservation measures and converting slope cropland into grass/forest and terraced field, policy interventions during 2006–2010 have reduced soil erosion on rain-fed cropland by 20% in soil erosion rate and 32% in total soil loss compared to the local assessments. The quantitative CSLE method provides a reliable estimation, due to the consideration of erosion control measures and is potentially transferable to other mountainous areas as a robust approach for rapid assessment of sheet and rill erosion. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Risk-Based Assessment Engineering of a Parallel Robot Used in Post-Stroke Upper Limb Rehabilitation
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2893; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102893 - 21 May 2019
Abstract
Recently, robotic-assisted stroke rehabilitation became an important research topic due to its capability to provide complex solutions to perform the customized rehabilitation motion with enhanced resources than the traditional rehabilitation. Involving robotic devices in the rehabilitation process would increase the number of possible [...] Read more.
Recently, robotic-assisted stroke rehabilitation became an important research topic due to its capability to provide complex solutions to perform the customized rehabilitation motion with enhanced resources than the traditional rehabilitation. Involving robotic devices in the rehabilitation process would increase the number of possible rehabilitated patients, but placing the patient inside the workspace of the robot causes a series of risks that needs to be identified, analyzed and avoided. The goal of this work is to provide a reliable solution for an upper limb rehabilitation robotic structure designed as a result of a risk assessment process. The proposed approach implies a hazard identification process in terms of severity and probability, a failure mode and effects analysis to identify the possible malfunctions in the system and an AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) to prioritize the technical characteristics of the robotic structure. The results of the risk assessment process and of the AHP provide the base of the final design of the robotic structure, while another solution, in terms of minimizing the risk for the patient injury, is obtained using an external measuring system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On the Reduction of the Biological Danger of Environmental Contamination by Using a “Complete and Reusable Thoracic Drainage System”
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2873; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102873 - 20 May 2019
Abstract
A clean environment is essential for human health and well-being. A significant share of total waste is represented by hospital waste that is produced in increasing quantities by sanitary units, with the appearance of the disposable tools. Taking into account the unfavourable environmental [...] Read more.
A clean environment is essential for human health and well-being. A significant share of total waste is represented by hospital waste that is produced in increasing quantities by sanitary units, with the appearance of the disposable tools. Taking into account the unfavourable environmental impact, the biological danger that this waste represents, and the restrictive legislation imposed by the European Union, urgent measures are needed to reduce their quantities. In this regard, the paper refers to the design of a completely reusable thoracic drainage system and to the positive implications that this system has on the amount of hospital waste. The research starts with the presentation of the medical system from Romania, continues with the classification of the hospital waste, then highlights the dangers and the risks caused by this and analyzes the impact on the sensitive groups. Furthermore, the paper presents the disposable bicameral and tricameral thoracic drainage device systems used in hospitals and then the advantages of using a completely reusable thoracic drainage system. The paper introduces also a research method based on the “opinion questioning”. The method uses a questionnaire with 23 items, addressed to physicians, because, despite restrictive legislation related to hospital waste management, this is not always respected. Each participant of the study works in a different hospital so that the questioned sample is representative. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Research on the Behavior of Factors That Influence the International Virtual Project Team Performance, Using Data Modeling Techniques
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030607 - 24 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
International projects have helped organizations around the world to better adapt to the new environmental conditions in which they operate, driven by the phenomenon of globalization. Electronic communication and information tools have enabled the creation of international virtual project teams (IVPTs), allowing team [...] Read more.
International projects have helped organizations around the world to better adapt to the new environmental conditions in which they operate, driven by the phenomenon of globalization. Electronic communication and information tools have enabled the creation of international virtual project teams (IVPTs), allowing team members to collaborate regardless of their geographic location or cultural, historical, socio-political, and educational differences. However, such an environment characterized by diversity will be productive only if the project team managers acknowledge and understand the behavior of influence factors comprised by the virtual environment, developing, accordingly, strategies that support team performance. In order to analyze the factors that influence IVPT performance, we used a C5.0 algorithm on the dataset through IBM SPSS Modeler software. Data collection was performed through an online survey, conducted within 107 IVPT members and managers, in order to answer the third question of the research. The predictive model created by the data mining algorithm revealed that the most important fields underlying the decision tree building were the cognitive skills training programs, team culture, and selection of IVPT members based on the characterisics of their national cultures. These results demonstrate the hypothesis that culture represents one of the most important factors influencing team performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reducing the Risks during the Purchase of Five-Axis CNC Machining Centers Using AHP Method and Fuzzy Systems
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020315 - 09 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Nowadays, companies are in the process of renewing their manufacturing lines by equipping them with modern five-axis CNC (computer numerical control) machining centers. The decision to select between different five-axis CNC machining centers, with similar technological capabilities is a difficult process, so the [...] Read more.
Nowadays, companies are in the process of renewing their manufacturing lines by equipping them with modern five-axis CNC (computer numerical control) machining centers. The decision to select between different five-axis CNC machining centers, with similar technological capabilities is a difficult process, so the main goal of this work was to develop a method for assisting it. The proposed approach relies on seven technical criteria, four quantitative ones (traverse speed, thrust, spindle power, and spindle speed) which can be expressed by crisp numerical values, while the other three (flexibility, operation easiness, and setup time) are qualitative ones. The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) was used for ordering four variants of five-axis CNC milling machining centers. The qualitative criteria were processed using fuzzy systems to be expressed by crisp numerical values, suitable for AHP. Finally, the four variants of five-axis CNC milling machining centers were hierarchized and the best one was chosen. A sensitivity analysis was also unfolded to certify the robustness of the AHP. Full article
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2018

Jump to: 2019, 2017

Open AccessArticle
The Environmental Impact of Ecological Rehabilitation Techniques Applied to Statically and Variably Stressed Welded Structures
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4782; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124782 - 14 Dec 2018
Abstract
There are many welded structures in the world such as bridges and viaducts that are subject to fatigue. Some of these structures, generally made of non-alloy or low-alloy steels, have been put into operation many years ago and have accumulated a large number [...] Read more.
There are many welded structures in the world such as bridges and viaducts that are subject to fatigue. Some of these structures, generally made of non-alloy or low-alloy steels, have been put into operation many years ago and have accumulated a large number of variable load cycles over time. For this reason, the occurrence of the fatigue phenomenon is inevitable and consists in the occurrence of failures at stresses applied to the structure, below the yield limit of the material. These stresses under the static loads would not cause the failures to appear. This paper will investigate if the ecological reconditioning techniques “weld toe grinding” and “WIG re-melting weld toe,” influence favourably the behaviour of the welded structures made from HSLA steel, in static and variable loads, if the application of these techniques is justified in both cases and finally which is the environmental impact of applying these techniques. In the paper we will present the chemical composition and mechanical properties of the base and filler materials, micro and macrostructures, graphics with the variation of the micro-hardness, we will perform static and fatigue tensile tests and we will rise the durability curve in the case of the fatigue tests. We will also present a mathematical computational algorithm, which highlights the extent to which these ecological rehabilitation techniques pollute the environment. It is more efficient both for technological and ecological reasons to recondition a product than to manufacture it from the very beginning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Assessment and Mitigation Model for Overseas Steel-Plant Project Investment with Analytic Hierarchy Process—Fuzzy Inference System
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4780; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124780 - 14 Dec 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper presents an analytic hierarchy process (AHP)-fuzzy inference system (FIS) model to aid decision-makers in the risk assessment and mitigation of overseas steel-plant projects. Through a thorough literature review, the authors identified 57 risks associated with international steel construction, operation, and transference [...] Read more.
This paper presents an analytic hierarchy process (AHP)-fuzzy inference system (FIS) model to aid decision-makers in the risk assessment and mitigation of overseas steel-plant projects. Through a thorough literature review, the authors identified 57 risks associated with international steel construction, operation, and transference of new technologies. Pairwise comparisons of all 57 risks by 14 subject-matter experts resulted in a relative weighting. Furthermore, to mitigate human subjectivity, vagueness, and uncertainty, a fuzzy analysis based on the findings of two case studies was performed. From these combined analyses, weighted individual risk soring resulted in the following top five most impactful international steel project risks: procurement of raw materials; design errors and omissions; conditions of raw materials; technology spill prevention plan; investment cost and poor plant availability and performance. Risk mitigation measures are also presented, and risk scores are re-assessed through the AHP-FIS analysis model depicting an overall project risk score reduction. The model presented is a useful tool for industry performing steel project risk assessments. It also provides decision-makers with a better understanding of the criticality of risks that are likely to occur on international steel projects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implementing Sustainably Managed Fisheries Using Ecological Risk Assessment and Bowtie Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3659; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103659 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Determining the effectiveness of a management system to enable fisheries to harvest sustainably is a key challenge. To fully assess the likelihood that a fishery management system will not achieve its sustainability objectives, the assessment needs to include the whole pathway that leads [...] Read more.
Determining the effectiveness of a management system to enable fisheries to harvest sustainably is a key challenge. To fully assess the likelihood that a fishery management system will not achieve its sustainability objectives, the assessment needs to include the whole pathway that leads to the consequences for management objectives. A crucial aspect of the pathway is the inclusion of management controls. Effectiveness of these management controls determines whether the effects of human pressures on ecological components and their impacts are reduced to a level that will not impede management achieving their objectives. Ecological risk assessments do not provide sufficient information to make decisions about what to change specifically in a management system to ensure a fishery is sustainably managed. Bowtie analysis (BTA) is a method that logically connects the relationships between management objectives, management controls, threats, potential impacts of threats on the fishery resource and the consequences of those impacts on achieving the management objectives. The combination of bowtie analysis and ecological risk assessment enables managers, scientists and stakeholders to evaluate different management controls and research options in response to risk factors and track the effectiveness of the management system. We applied a three-step method of bowtie analysis stage 1, quantitative ecological risk assessment and bowtie analysis stage 2 to evaluate fisheries management and science. We demonstrate these steps using a case study of a commercially fished species in New South Wales, Australia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling Perceived Risks Associated to the Entry of Complementors’ in Platform Enterprises: A Case Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3272; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093272 - 13 Sep 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Third-party innovators, i.e., complementors, in platform enterprises develop and commercialize add-on products which are one of the main attraction points for customers. To ensure a sustainable evolution of the enterprise, the platform owner needs to attract and retain high-quality third-party innovators. We posit [...] Read more.
Third-party innovators, i.e., complementors, in platform enterprises develop and commercialize add-on products which are one of the main attraction points for customers. To ensure a sustainable evolution of the enterprise, the platform owner needs to attract and retain high-quality third-party innovators. We posit that the transaction costs incurred upon joining the enterprise as well as the controls imposed by the platform owner throughout the development and commercialization process shape the innovator’s perceived risk and influence his decision on whether to join or not. Based on a literature review, the paper at hand proposes a conceptual model for complementors to assess their perceived risk and subsequently evaluates the model in a case study of a platform enterprise for IT-based modelling tools. While some of the propositions are validated, i.e., that informational controls decrease the perceived environmental uncertainty and implicitly the perceived risks, other propositions, such as the fact that asset specificity is a deterrent to entering the platform enterprise could not be validated. Further case studies are necessary to provide a conclusive proof of the proposed model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Driving Risk of Near-Crash Events Using a Mixed-Ordered Logit Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2868; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082868 - 13 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
With the considerable increase in ownership of motor vehicles, traffic crashes have become a challenge. This paper presents a study of naturalistic driving conducted to collect driving data. The experiments were performed on different road types in the city of Wuhan in China. [...] Read more.
With the considerable increase in ownership of motor vehicles, traffic crashes have become a challenge. This paper presents a study of naturalistic driving conducted to collect driving data. The experiments were performed on different road types in the city of Wuhan in China. The collected driving data were used to develop a near-crash database, which covers driving behavior, near-crash factors, driving environment, time, demographics, and experience. A new definition of near-crash events is also proposed. The new definition considers potential risks in driving behavior, such as braking pressure, time headway, and deceleration. A clustering analysis was carried out through a K-means algorithm to classify near-crash events based on their risk level. In addition, a mixed-ordered logit model was used to examine the contributing factors associated with the driving risk of near-crash events. The results indicate that ten factors significantly affect the driving risk of near-crash events: deceleration average, vehicle kinetic energy, near-crash causes, congestion on roads, time of day, driving miles, road types, weekend, age, and experience. The findings may be used by transportation planners to understand the factors that influence driving risk and may provide valuable insights and helpful suggestions for improving transportation rules and reducing traffic collisions thus making roads safer. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Critical Review of the Effects of Glyphosate Exposure to the Environment and Humans through the Food Supply Chain
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040950 - 24 Mar 2018
Cited by 13
Abstract
Glyphosate is a synthesis product and chemical substance that entered in the global market during the 70s. In the beginning, the molecule was used as an active principle in a wide range of herbicides, with great success. This was mainly due to its [...] Read more.
Glyphosate is a synthesis product and chemical substance that entered in the global market during the 70s. In the beginning, the molecule was used as an active principle in a wide range of herbicides, with great success. This was mainly due to its systemic and non-selective action against vegetable organisms and also to the spread of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops, which over the years were specifically created with a resistance to glyphosate. To date, the product is, for these reasons, the most sprayed and most used herbicide in the world. Because of its widespread diffusion into the environment, it was not long before glyphosate found itself at the center of an important scientific debate about its adverse effects on health and environment. In fact, in 2015 the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France), an organization referred to as the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO, Geneva, Switzerland), classified the substance as “likely carcinogenic” to humans. This triggered an immediate and negative reaction from the producer, who accused the Agency and claimed that they had failed to carry out their studies properly and that these conclusions were largely contradictory to published research. Additionally, in 2015, just a few months after the IARC monography published on glyphosate, the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority, Parma, Italy), another WHO related organization, declared that it was “unlikely” that the molecule could be carcinogenic to humans or that it could cause any type of risk to human health. The conflict between the two organizations of the World Health Organization triggered many doubts, and for this reason, a series of independent studies were launched to better understand what glyphosate’s danger to humans and the environment really was. The results have brought to light how massive use of the herbicide has created over time a real global contamination that has not only affected the soil, surface and groundwater as well as the atmosphere, but even food and commonly used objects, such as diapers, medical gauze, and absorbent for female intimate hygiene. How human health is compromised as a result of glyphosate exposure is a topic that is still very debatable and still unclear and unambiguous. This paper is a review of the results of the main independent recent scientific studies. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Rockfall Analysis for Preliminary Hazard Assessment of the Cliff of Taormina Saracen Castle (Sicily)
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020417 - 06 Feb 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
A rockfall analysis at one of the most relevant cultural heritage sites of northeastern Sicily (Italy) is presented herein with the aim of assessing the hazard arising from the unstable conditions of the rock cliff of Taormina city, upon which the Saracen Castle [...] Read more.
A rockfall analysis at one of the most relevant cultural heritage sites of northeastern Sicily (Italy) is presented herein with the aim of assessing the hazard arising from the unstable conditions of the rock cliff of Taormina city, upon which the Saracen Castle is perched on its top. Several rockfalls affected this area in the latest years, representing a serious threat for the safety of inhabitants and tourists. Therefore, the qualitative Evolving Rockfall Hazard Assessment (ERHA) was applied for the hazard zonation, supported by rock mass surveys and Terrestrial Laser Scanner prospecting. Kinematic analysis revealed that the unstable rock failure patterns are represented by planar/wedge sliding and toppling, while simulation of potential rockfalls allowed studying the impact of future events in terms of trajectory and energy. This is higher at the foot of scarps and in steeper sectors, where the application of ERHA identified a critical zone close to the inhabited center, which is one of the main elements at risk, along with a pedestrian tourist path. Achieved results represent a starting point for the definition of risk management strategies and provide a scientific contribution to the study of hazard and risk arising from rockfall occurrence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Uncertainty Analysis of the Estimated Risk in Formal Safety Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020321 - 26 Jan 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
An uncertainty analysis is required to be carried out in formal safety assessment (FSA) by the International Maritime Organization. The purpose of this article is to introduce the uncertainty analysis technique into the FSA process. Based on the uncertainty identification of input parameters, [...] Read more.
An uncertainty analysis is required to be carried out in formal safety assessment (FSA) by the International Maritime Organization. The purpose of this article is to introduce the uncertainty analysis technique into the FSA process. Based on the uncertainty identification of input parameters, probability and possibility distributions are used to model the aleatory and epistemic uncertainties, respectively. An approach which combines the Monte Carlo random sampling of probability distribution functions with the a-cuts for fuzzy calculus is proposed to propagate the uncertainties. One output of the FSA process is societal risk (SR), which can be evaluated in the two-dimensional frequency–fatality (FN) diagram. Thus, the confidence-level-based SR is presented to represent the uncertainty of SR in two dimensions. In addition, a method for time window selection is proposed to estimate the magnitude of uncertainties, which is an important aspect of modeling uncertainties. Finally, a case study is carried out on an FSA study on cruise ships. The results show that the uncertainty analysis of SR generates a two-dimensional area for a certain degree of confidence in the FN diagram rather than a single FN curve, which provides more information to authorities to produce effective risk control measures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Air Pollution and Human Development in Europe: A New Index Using Principal Component Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020312 - 26 Jan 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
EU countries to measure human development incorporating the ambient PM2.5 concentration effect. Using a principal component analysis, we extract the information for 2010 and 2015 using the Real GDP/capita, the life expectancy at birth, tertiary educational attainment, ambient PM2.5 concentration, and the death [...] Read more.
EU countries to measure human development incorporating the ambient PM2.5 concentration effect. Using a principal component analysis, we extract the information for 2010 and 2015 using the Real GDP/capita, the life expectancy at birth, tertiary educational attainment, ambient PM2.5 concentration, and the death rate due to exposure to ambient PM2.5 concentration for 29 European countries. This paper has two main results: it gives an overview about the relationship between human development and ambient PM2.5 concentration, and second, it provides a new quantitative measure, PHDI, which reshapes the concept of human development and the exposure to ambient PM2.5 concentration. Using rating classes, we defined thresholds for both HDI and PHDI values to group the countries in four categories. When comparing the migration matrix from 2010 to 2015 for HDI values, some countries improved the development indicator (Romania, Poland, Malta, Estonia, Cyprus), while no downgrades were observed. When comparing the transition matrix using the newly developed indicator, PHDI, the upgrades observed were for Denmark and Estonia, while some countries like Spain and Italy moved to a lower rating class due to ambient PM2.5 concentration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Minimizing the Health Risks from Hydrocarbon Contaminated Soils by Using Electric Field-Based Treatment for Soil Remediation
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010253 - 19 Jan 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The present work addresses the assessment of human health risk from soil contaminated with total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) due to crude oil pollution, with a particular focus on the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) group of carcinogenic and toxic substances. Given that the measured [...] Read more.
The present work addresses the assessment of human health risk from soil contaminated with total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) due to crude oil pollution, with a particular focus on the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) group of carcinogenic and toxic substances. Given that the measured risk for human health exceeded the accepted level, the study considered an electrochemical remediation method. The laboratory-scale experiments were conducted by using an electric field-based treatment as a possible solution for the remediation of contaminated soil. After 20 days of treatment, while the voltage applied was 15 V (specific voltage of 1 V/cm), the hydrocarbon content was significantly reduced. The parameters measured to determine the overall remediation efficiency were pH, redox potential, ionic strength, soil characteristics, voltage gradient, and zeta potential. The remediation degree observed during the experiments was around 50% for TPHs and 46% for PAHs. The applied remediation method resulted in significant removal efficiency of the tested contaminants from the soil. Consequently, the human health risk assessment for the new degree of contaminants in the soil was achieved. This data demonstrated to what extent the application of the remediation applied technology ensured an acceptable risk under the same exposure conditions for the industrial workers. Full article
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2017

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Open AccessArticle
Holonic Crisis Handling Model for Corporate Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2266; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122266 - 07 Dec 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
The new approaches of risk and crisis management of organizations point to corporate responsibility and corporate sustainability. In the ‘Internet of Everything’ era, when the new media and social networks create the possibility to ruin in a few seconds the reputation of a [...] Read more.
The new approaches of risk and crisis management of organizations point to corporate responsibility and corporate sustainability. In the ‘Internet of Everything’ era, when the new media and social networks create the possibility to ruin in a few seconds the reputation of a company built in decades, it is important to afford the maximum attention to risk management and crisis communication. Long-term sustainability requires a transparent, trustful communication in due time. In our study, we propose a crisis management model that leads to sustainable corporate behaviour. We consider organizations as complex systems, and we use the holonic multiagent modelling concept to depict the emergent behaviour of these systems. This theoretical paper has as its main result a crisis communication model, based on the adaptability feature of holons. In our non-linear approach for unpredictable situations we merged some findings of sustainability theory, corporate social responsibility (CSR) management, crisis communication, the holonic manufacturing concept and the latest security standards in computer communication. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Reduction Methods for Managing the Development of Regional Electric Power Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2201; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122201 - 29 Nov 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
The development of the regional electric power industry has come to the forefront due to the changing scale, quality, and configuration of electric power infrastructure, and the spread of distributed generation. This gives rise to more stringent requirements regarding the reliability, safety, and [...] Read more.
The development of the regional electric power industry has come to the forefront due to the changing scale, quality, and configuration of electric power infrastructure, and the spread of distributed generation. This gives rise to more stringent requirements regarding the reliability, safety, and environmental impact of electric power supply. This article aims to justify a package of methods that make it possible to identify and minimize investment, production, financial, and environmental risks in order to ensure sustainable development of the regional electric power industry that performs anti-crisis functions, and of individual energy companies. The key method to be employed is integrated resource planning (IRP). As a part of the method, energy conservation, renewable energy sources, and combined heat and power production are considered as equally valid ways of meeting future demand. The authors have designed a methodology for taking into account uncertainty and risk when implementing IRP. The methodology includes analysis of scenarios and decision making processes by calculating past and projected values of profit indicators. When conducting the environmental and economic assessment of an investment project in the electric power industry, the authors suggest using an aggregate indicator of environmental and economic effectiveness that is calculated on the basis of a combination of locally significant positive and negative environmental and economic impacts of the project. The authors formulate conceptual provisions that serve as the foundation for a promising model of the regional electric power industry and which contain recommendations for managing the development of the industry while minimizing organizational, market, and technological risks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Smart City Platform Development for an Automated Waste Collection System
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2064; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112064 - 10 Nov 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
Nowadays, governments and companies are looking for solutions to increase the collection level of various waste types by using new technologies and devices such as smart sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud platforms etc. In order to fulfil this need, this paper presents [...] Read more.
Nowadays, governments and companies are looking for solutions to increase the collection level of various waste types by using new technologies and devices such as smart sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud platforms etc. In order to fulfil this need, this paper presents solutions provided by a research project involving the design, development and implementation of fully automated waste collection systems with an increased usage degree, productivity and storage capacity. The paper will focus on the main results of this research project in turning the automated waste collection system into a smart system so that it can be easily integrated in any smart city infrastructure. For this purpose, the Internet of Things platform for the automated waste collection system provided by the project will allow real time monitoring and communication with central systems. Details about each module are sent to the central systems: various modules’ statuses (working, blocked, needs repairs or maintenance etc.); equipment status; storage systems status (allowing full reports for all waste types); the amount of waste for each module, allowing optimal discharging; route optimization for waste discharging etc. To do that, we describe here an IoT cloud solution integrating device connection, data processing, analytics and management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Model to Assess the Quality of Magmatic Rocks for Reliable and Sustainable Constructions
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1925; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101925 - 24 Oct 2017
Abstract
Geomechanical assessment of rocks requires knowledge of phenomena that occur under the influence of internal and external factors at a macroscopic or microscopic scale, when rocks are submitted to different actions. To elucidate the quantitative and qualitative geomechanical behavior of rocks, knowing their [...] Read more.
Geomechanical assessment of rocks requires knowledge of phenomena that occur under the influence of internal and external factors at a macroscopic or microscopic scale, when rocks are submitted to different actions. To elucidate the quantitative and qualitative geomechanical behavior of rocks, knowing their geological and physical–mechanical characteristics becomes an imperative. Mineralogical, petrographical and chemical analyses provided an opportunity to identify 15 types of igneous rocks (gabbro, diabases, granites, diorites, rhyolites, andesites, and basalts), divided into plutonic and volcanic rocks. In turn, these have been grouped into acidic, neutral (intermediate) and basic magmatites. A new ranking method is proposed, based on considering the rock characteristics as indicators of quantitative assessment, and the grading system, by given points, allowing the rocks framing in admissibility classes. The paper is structured into two parts, experimental and interpretation of experimental data, showing the methodology to assess the quality of igneous rocks analyzed, and the results of theoretical and experimental research carried out on the analyzed rock types. The proposed method constitutes an appropriate instrument for assessment and verification of the requirements regarding the quality of rocks used for sustainable construction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Indicators and Road Accident Analysis for the Period 2012–2016
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1530; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091530 - 28 Aug 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
Road accidents are a major societal issue for every country. The purpose of this paper is to assess the number of traffic and road accidents depending on a series of variables (collision mode, road configuration, conditions of occurrence, road category, type of vehicle [...] Read more.
Road accidents are a major societal issue for every country. The purpose of this paper is to assess the number of traffic and road accidents depending on a series of variables (collision mode, road configuration, conditions of occurrence, road category, type of vehicle involved, personal factors, and length of time of the driving license) in Romania from 2012–2016. The analysis of the road accident trend identifies the causes of accidents, road safety performance indicators, and risk indicators. Having these identified data, a framework is proposed for improving the road safety system and reducing accidents. The Romanian Police, the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) in Romania, and the European Commission provided the data used for this analysis. The data obtained from these databases are analysed and evaluated according to a series of variables. This paper will outline an informative image of road accidents and establish a framework for reducing their effects in road transport. As a result of the analysis, we have seen that the combination of vehicles and personal factors influences the number of traffic and road accidents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Driving Force Analysis of the Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Flash Floods in Sichuan Province
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1527; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091527 - 28 Aug 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
Flash floods are important natural disasters in China that can result in casualties and property losses. In this paper, we present a quantitative approach to examine the driving factors of the spatiotemporal distribution of flash floods based on a geographical detector. The environmental [...] Read more.
Flash floods are important natural disasters in China that can result in casualties and property losses. In this paper, we present a quantitative approach to examine the driving factors of the spatiotemporal distribution of flash floods based on a geographical detector. The environmental background condition (elevation, slope, etc.), precipitation, and human activity factors, as well as changes in these factors, are investigated in Sichuan Province via a driving force analysis. The results show that heavy precipitation is the most important driver, with power of determinant (PD) values of 0.71 and 0.77 for the spatial distributions of flash floods from 1995 to 2004 and from 2005 to 2014, respectively. The PDs of population density are 0.65 and 0.78 in the same two periods, while those of elevation are 0.59 and 0.73. Precipitation variability is the most important driver of the spatiotemporal variability of flash floods, followed by GDP density and population density, with PDs of 0.48, 0.29, and 0.27, respectively. The results show that human activities and precipitation are the primary driving forces of the spatiotemporal variability of flash floods and should be the focus of flash flood prevention and forecasting. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Applications of the Standardized Nordic Questionnaire: A Review
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1514; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091514 - 25 Aug 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
Sustainability seeks to provide economically viable products in an environmentally friendly way while respecting worker rights. Physical wellbeing forms part of these rights. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) diminish productivity, cause absence from work, impose costs on the public health system and can cast doubt [...] Read more.
Sustainability seeks to provide economically viable products in an environmentally friendly way while respecting worker rights. Physical wellbeing forms part of these rights. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) diminish productivity, cause absence from work, impose costs on the public health system and can cast doubt on the sustainability of a company or a product. The objective of the present work is to review the literature on the application of the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) on a worldwide level. In this work, the use of the NMQ has been classified by categories of knowledge, countries and years. The search was made using “Web of Science-Core Collection”. In total, 259 articles were chosen from scientific journals and conferences related, according to the title and or abstract, to the practical application of the questionnaire. In conclusion, the NMQ has been applied mainly in three sectors: “activities related to treating human health and social issues”, “manufacturing industries”, and “agriculture, livestock, fishing, and forestry”. The NMQ is an indirect method commonly used individually or complemented with other methods for evaluating the MSD and possible associated psychosocial and labour risks. The use of NMQ can help in the evaluation of the sustainability of a company. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Affecting Spatial and Temporal Concentration Variability of Pharmaceuticals: Comparison between Two WWTPs
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1466; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9081466 - 18 Aug 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
The presence of emerging organic micropollutants (such as pharmaceuticals) in sewage has been, for a long time, an issue of great concern within the international scientific debate. This item represents one of the main challenges related to a sustainable development, with particular concern [...] Read more.
The presence of emerging organic micropollutants (such as pharmaceuticals) in sewage has been, for a long time, an issue of great concern within the international scientific debate. This item represents one of the main challenges related to a sustainable development, with particular concern to the public health control. While most of the work has been concentrated on their detection and the evaluation of their average level, little is known about the spatial and temporal variability of concentrations of these compounds in the effluent and its capability to affect the concentrations in time of the receiving water body. In this study, three sampling campaigns were carried out at two different wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Varese area (Northern Italy) with the aim of monitoring the occurrence of some pharmaceuticals to evaluate their removal efficiency. The detected pharmaceuticals were: Ofloxacin, Ibuprofen, Atenolol, Bezafibrate, Carbamazepine, Salbutamol, Cyclophosphamide and Hydrochlorothiazide. The results obtained, together with the analysis of the characteristics of the chemicals and of the two WWTPs, allowed evaluating the factors affecting the spatial and temporal concentration variability in effluent waters and the potential influence of this variability in driving the exposure of the aquatic ecosystems in the receiving water body. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Crude Oil Contaminated Sites: Evaluation by Using Risk Assessment Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1365; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9081365 - 03 Aug 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
Soils contaminated with toxic and persistent pollutants pose different and serious hazards to the environment and human health. Multidisciplinary procedures that are considering models for the prediction of risk for long-term exposure are needed. The present paper illustrates the operating mode and utility [...] Read more.
Soils contaminated with toxic and persistent pollutants pose different and serious hazards to the environment and human health. Multidisciplinary procedures that are considering models for the prediction of risk for long-term exposure are needed. The present paper illustrates the operating mode and utility of an environmental software able toe0) integrates the dose-response modeling as a major part of hazard characterization in order to assess the quantitative risk from carcinogens. In this way, risk assessment is used as a method for the investigation of contaminated sites. The method is demonstrated on a Romanian field site, contaminated with petroleum products. For the assessment of human health risks from oil-contaminated sites, the contaminants of concern are considered as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (MAHs), and heavy metals, chemicals known as human carcinogens. Quantitative risk calculations revealed an individual risk of 1.07 × 10−5 for children and 6.89 × 10−6 for adults. The paper represents a utility example of an environmental software solution that could be considered by decision-making factors in approving certain projects. The software tool is helpful for protecting the environment and human health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trend Analysis of Construction Industrial Accidents in Korea from 2011 to 2015
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1297; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9081297 - 25 Jul 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to analyze the results of construction accidents occurred from 2011 to 2015 in Korea. The annual reports from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, Korea (MOEL), and the annual reports from the Statistics Korea were used for [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to analyze the results of construction accidents occurred from 2011 to 2015 in Korea. The annual reports from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, Korea (MOEL), and the annual reports from the Statistics Korea were used for the analysis in this study. The gender, age, company size and accident types were chosen as a category to analyze the trend of various occupational accidents. In order to analyze the characteristics of construction accidents, incidence rates (IRs) and mortality rates (MRs) were calculated. Further, T-tests and ANOVA analysis were performed to discover the relationships among IRs, MRs, and chosen categories. Male workers’ IRs and MRs were significantly higher than those of female workers. Construction workers over 40 years of age suffered the most from occupational injuries. In terms of company size, as company size increases, both IRs and MRs tended to decrease. Occupational injuries caused by falls were higher than other accident types each year. This paper will be able to provide information on occupational accidents for establishing strategies to reduce the accident rate in construction sectors of Korea. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Considerations on Applying the Method for Assessing the Level of Safety at Work
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1263; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071263 - 18 Jul 2017
Cited by 17
Abstract
The application of the method for assessing the level of safety at work starts with a document that contains the cover page, the description of the company (name, location, core business, organizational chart etc.), description of the work system, a detailed list of [...] Read more.
The application of the method for assessing the level of safety at work starts with a document that contains the cover page, the description of the company (name, location, core business, organizational chart etc.), description of the work system, a detailed list of its components, and a brief description of the assessment method. It continues with a Microsoft Excel document, which represents the actual application of the method and, finally, there is another document presenting conclusions, proposals, and prioritizations, which leads to the execution of the Prevention and Protection Plan. The present paper approaches the issue of developing the Microsoft Excel document, an essential part of the method for assessing the level of safety at work. The document is divided into a variable number of worksheets, showing the risk categories of general, specific, and management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Evaluation and Application of the TRIZ Method for Increasing Eco-Innovative Levels in SMEs
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1125; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071125 - 27 Jun 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
If in the past, the success of innovation was measured primarily in the economic sphere, recently the non-economic sphere has increasingly become more of a matter of corporate management and, therefore, of innovation management. Management’s acquisition of non-economic aspects has been strongly influenced [...] Read more.
If in the past, the success of innovation was measured primarily in the economic sphere, recently the non-economic sphere has increasingly become more of a matter of corporate management and, therefore, of innovation management. Management’s acquisition of non-economic aspects has been strongly influenced by the vision of sustainable development. Sustainability is a direction of action important for innovation as well, integrating economic, social, and environmental responsibility in the management of innovation, leading to sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI). Research on SOI approached innovation processes has been carried out in large companies, however in recent years the use of TRIZ (teoriya resheniya izobretatelskikh zadach) tools has been tried for SOI. The TRIZ-based approach is a valuable tool because it does not require an encyclopedic knowledge of field-specific technology and it enables the expansion of the scope of problem solutions beyond the skills of the team members. This paper discusses the concepts of sustainability, innovation, and risk management in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the purpose of developing a flow chart for the implementation of the TRIZ method in SMEs and for evaluating the state of innovation in such companies. Through the use of the TRIZ method in the field of SMEs, fast and efficient processes, products, and sustainable services have been obtained. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring, Human Health Risk Assessment and Optimized Management for Typical Pollutants in Indoor Air from Random Families of University Staff, Wuhan City, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1115; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071115 - 26 Jun 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
In this study, 31 workers at a university were randomly selected for indoor environmental monitoring in Wuhan. Two indicators, formaldehyde and total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), and using 139 monitoring points, monitored the indoor environment (including home and workplace) as well as the [...] Read more.
In this study, 31 workers at a university were randomly selected for indoor environmental monitoring in Wuhan. Two indicators, formaldehyde and total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), and using 139 monitoring points, monitored the indoor environment (including home and workplace) as well as the interior space of the main furniture. This study carried out the environmental quality assessment for TVOC based on the dB index method and the health risk assessment of indoor formaldehyde for the university staff receptors and, then focused on health risk in home environment to carry out detailed environmental health management. The results showed that TVOC in the three types of home spaces exceeded about 80% of the national standard. The excessive formaldehyde ratios for kitchens (79%), bedrooms (77%) and living rooms (74%) were calculated. Formaldehyde health risks all exceeded the United States Environmental Protection Agency, (USEPA) acceptable risk threshold. The formaldehyde concentrations in workplaces were about 0.03 mg·m−3. While the risk contribution of the home environment to the total average health risk (0.0014, whether male and female) is about 96%. For the adapted and unadapted persons, 90% and 55% of the monitoring points were located within the long-term tolerable range of TVOC decibel application, respectively. Long-term exposure to such an environment can lead to the Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). On the other hand, through comparison of the concentration of pollutants in the interior spaces of furniture and home spaces, it was determined tentatively that the pollutants were mainly concentrated in rarely used furniture. In summary, the air pollution in the studied homes of university staff was much serious than that in workplaces, which showed a need to manage TVOC and formaldehyde pollution by the three means: the purchase of green products, removal of internal pollution from furniture, and creating a good indoor volatile diffusion environment to create a healthy home environment. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Using an AHP-ISM Based Method to Study the Vulnerability Factors of Urban Rail Transit System
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 1065; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9061065 - 20 Jun 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
As a sustainable means of public transportation, urban rail transit system undergoes rapid expansion in China. How to provide a safe and reliable service has been the subject of growing attention in this context. However, such work is challenging because rail transit systems [...] Read more.
As a sustainable means of public transportation, urban rail transit system undergoes rapid expansion in China. How to provide a safe and reliable service has been the subject of growing attention in this context. However, such work is challenging because rail transit systems are quite vulnerable and influenced by a set of interacting factors. Studying these vulnerability factors will contribute significantly to the operation of rail transit system. From this perspective, this paper made an exploration of the vulnerability factors based on an integrated method consisting of AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process) and ISM (Interpretative Structural Modeling). Based on literature review, 21 vulnerability factors were identified. Subsequently, expert elicitation was employed to ascertain the importance of each factor and the interrelations among them. The results suggest that management and individual factors have the highest importance weights and the interrelations among vulnerability factors could be expressed as a five-layer structure, in which management factors were inclined to be at the lower level. The research provides valuable information for decision makers to take proactive strategies and reinforcement policies to guarantee safety operation of urban rail transit system and ensure urban public safety, which could promote the sustainable development of cities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study of Water Environmental Cumulative Risk Assessment Based on Control Unit and Management Platform Application in Plain River Network
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 975; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9060975 - 07 Jun 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
As the gradual deterioration of the environment, the method of environmental risk assessment has been developed from basing only on a single source to basing on a cumulative risk source. In accordance with the water environment features of the plain river network area, [...] Read more.
As the gradual deterioration of the environment, the method of environmental risk assessment has been developed from basing only on a single source to basing on a cumulative risk source. In accordance with the water environment features of the plain river network area, a cumulative risk assessment system of water environment in the plain river network area was established in this paper, the design process for which could be divided into three step: (1) Control unit divided reasonably was chosen as the basic unit for water quality management. (2) On that basis, according to the characteristics of the plain river network area, the cumulative risk indexes were selected. The index weight is calculated using entropy method and analytic hierarchy process (AHP), which could determine the risk grade of each control unit. (3) The cumulative risk assessment method is coupled to the existing water environment management platform. The platform with a dynamic database can realize the dynamic calculation and visualization of the cumulative risk grade. In this paper, the Zhejiang area of Taihu Basin was selected to be the research target as the typical plain river network area. Thirty-five control units were divided with regional water environment and control section. Taking the data in the year 2011 as example, the proposed cumulative risk assessment method was used to identify the control units in different grades and the results demonstrated that the numbers of high-, medium-, low- and extremely low-risk control units are 13, 12, 5 and 5, respectively. It is necessary to give priority to the high-risk control unit. Therefore, the cumulative risk assessment method based on the control unit provides an essential theoretical basis for reducing the probability of water pollution and reducing the degree of water pollution damage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Management of a Tourist Village Establishment in Mountainous Area through Analysis of Costs and Incomes
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9060875 - 23 May 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
The popularity of rural areas and especially the mountainous ones, as a possibility to spend the vacation has increased in most countries. Almost all mountain areas can provide great opportunities for the development of various forms of rural tourism, there being many examples [...] Read more.
The popularity of rural areas and especially the mountainous ones, as a possibility to spend the vacation has increased in most countries. Almost all mountain areas can provide great opportunities for the development of various forms of rural tourism, there being many examples according to which many mountain areas, through appropriate and effective strategies of capitalizing the resources through the forms of rural tourism, start from the pioneer stage to a real valuable alternative in socio-economic terms for the rural area. One of the concepts that are increasingly used is the “tourist village”, its main issue, consisting in the return of the investment, an aspect that we will discuss in this paper. The paper presents an analysis of the way in which the occupancy degree affects the period of amortization of the initial investment. Concretely, in the case of the medium-sized tourist village, the minimum occupancy degree for the amortization of the initial investment, starts from about 25% for the investment without a loan, but subsidy in proportion of 50% and reaches at about 85% in the case of an investment with loan, for a period of 10 years, without advance or subsidy and with an interest of 7%. Initial investments were established for a holiday village in the Romanian countryside. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Magnetic (Fe3O4) Nanoparticles Reduce Heavy Metals Uptake and Mitigate Their Toxicity in Wheat Seedling
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 790; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050790 - 10 May 2017
Cited by 23
Abstract
Heavy metal pollution is not only a hazard to living organisms but also an important worldwide environmental concern. Experiments were performed to investigate the physiological mechanisms of magnetic (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (nano-Fe3O4) mitigation of the toxicity [...] Read more.
Heavy metal pollution is not only a hazard to living organisms but also an important worldwide environmental concern. Experiments were performed to investigate the physiological mechanisms of magnetic (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (nano-Fe3O4) mitigation of the toxicity of heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cd and Cu) in wheat seedlings. All the Petri dishes with germinating seedlings (1d) were covered, sealed with parafilm, and placed in a dark growth chamber. All parameters (seedling growth inhibition, heavy metal accumulation, enzymatic activities, and reducing effects of nano-Fe3O4 on heavy metal toxicity) were analyzed only after five days. The results showed that the tested heavy metals significantly affected the growth of wheat seedling by decreasing root length, shoot length and even death at 10 mM concentration in the case of Cd and Cu. Heavy metals exposure also showed that superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidases (POD) activities decreased significantly when the malondialdehyde (MDA) content was significantly higher in wheat seedlings. Addition of magnetic (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (2000 mg/L) in each heavy metal solution (1 mM) significantly decreased the growth inhibition and activated protective mechanisms to reduce oxidative stress induced by heavy metals in the wheat seedlings. The reducing effects of nano-Fe3O4 against heavy metals stress could be dependent on the increase in the enzyme activity (SOD and POD). Their protective role was confirmed by the decrease in MDA content. The alleviating effect of nano-Fe3O4 is associated with their adsorption capacity of heavy metals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Potential Rockfalls on a Highway at High Slopes in Cold-Arid Areas (Northwest Xinjiang, China)
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9030414 - 10 Mar 2017
Abstract
In the steep mountainous areas in northwest Xinjiang, where rock mass is broken seriously due to intense freeze thaw weathering, rockfall is one of the most common geological hazards on highway high slopes. Engineering geological investigations on geological hazards along a segment of [...] Read more.
In the steep mountainous areas in northwest Xinjiang, where rock mass is broken seriously due to intense freeze thaw weathering, rockfall is one of the most common geological hazards on highway high slopes. Engineering geological investigations on geological hazards along a segment of the G219 highway was conducted, indicating that rockfalls on the high slopes threaten the safety of vehicles on the highway seriously. In this study, a combination of field investigations, laboratory experiments and numerical simulation methods was performed to identify unstable high slopes, simulate the rockfall trajectories and assess the rockfall hazard in the study area. The results show that there are five high slopes (i.e., W01, W02, …, W05) where rockfall hazard is extremely serious. Considering both the total kinetic energy and the accumulation rate of blocks, rockfall influence area zonation was performed, leading to the conclusions that the sections of highway on W01 to W05 are located at the medium-intensity low-accumulation zone, high-intensity medium-accumulation zone, high-intensity low-accumulation zone, high-intensity low-accumulation zone and medium-intensity high-accumulation zone, respectively. Based on the analysis, a zonation map was accomplished, which could help engineers select effective mitigation measures against rockfalls to avoid casualty and property losses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Managing Reputational Risk through Environmental Management and Reporting: An Options Theory Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9030376 - 04 Mar 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
Reputation is a complex and multidimensional concept that may be organized in downside and upside reputational risk. In this article, we present a formal modelling for the management capabilities of environmental management and reporting over reputational risk, considering that reputational risk is becoming [...] Read more.
Reputation is a complex and multidimensional concept that may be organized in downside and upside reputational risk. In this article, we present a formal modelling for the management capabilities of environmental management and reporting over reputational risk, considering that reputational risk is becoming increasingly important for organizations and it directly depends on the information available about companies’ environmental performances. As long as the effectiveness of communication and disclosure plays a key role in the process, the usefulness of environmental management and reporting as a hedging instrument for reputational risk is addressed through different levels of information transparency. When considering a scenario of voluntary reporting, we show that environmentally concerned companies can reduce the cost of environmental management as a reputational risk strategy, as well as reducing the potential loss of reputational value from reputational threats and increasing the potential profit from reputational opportunities. In the context of mandatory reporting, we highlight the role of assurance companies as bearers of the risk of bad reputations for non-concerned companies. As a result, this novel approach applies theoretical oriented research from options theory to reputational risk management literature, so that it benefits from the option’s well known theory, robustness, and conclusions. Full article
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