When: In session Wednesday 19th February, 1:50pm-2:35pm
Government organisations play a critical role in communicating risks and health protective actions in response to environmental hazards. Globally, exposure of the public to environmental hazards, such as chemical pollution, causes significant adverse health outcomes. Effective communication can reduce the public’s exposure to these hazards, minimising the health and psychological impacts.
While a large number of studies have investigated how to improve risk communication, there appears to be comparatively limited research focusing on the practices of those communicating risk, such as government organisations, compared to the wealth of research focusing on those receiving the messages. This is a significant gap considering the important role communicators play in encouraging the public to respond to environmental hazards. There is no doubt that audience-focused research is important. However, to improve the effectiveness of communication efforts there is also the need to better understand the communicators and gain insights into communication practices, decision-making and organisational factors influencing communication efforts.
As a first step to address this gap, a scoping review was undertaken to identify the existing research looking at the practice of risk communication by government organisations. Peer-reviewed papers investigating communicators, or individuals assisting with communicating, from government organisations were included. The review focused on communication relating to chemical pollution, but also considered general environmental health communication. Analysis the reviewed papers identified key factors influencing government organisations’ communications of risks. This presentation will outline the results of the scoping review and highlight potential areas for future studies.
Madeleine Thomas, PhD Student, Monash University & Environment Protection Authority Victoria