Health Risk Assessment & Occupational and Environmental Health Surveillance

Last Updated: May 05, 2023
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​Information on health risk assessment, OEH surveillance, technical guidance, and information about health risk management.  


Many aspects of Army public health are shaped by an understanding of the health risks faced by Soldiers, Families, DA civilians, and other relevant populations.  How well practitioners understand and articulate that understanding to effected parties, decision makers, and commanders impacts the quality, timeliness, and cost effectiveness of preventive measures, intervention programs, and other risk management actions determined by commanders and policymakers.  Therefore, health risk assessment is fundamental to Army public health practice.  Health risk assessment is both a process and a professional discipline—

  • Health risk assessment is a process that is used to estimate risks by synthesizing available information to identify health hazards; the probability or likelihood of exposure; the magnitude and timing of exposure; the specific kinds of injury, illness, or other effects caused by exposure; the severity of effects; and the probability or likelihood that exposure will result in predicted effects.  
  • As a public health discipline, health risk assessment is a multidisciplinary field of practice that is focused around the methods used to evaluate exposure to hazards, predict health risks and outcomes, and inform decision-making to control or otherwise respond to unacceptable exposures to health hazards. 

​Health risk assessment is a core capability that optimizes Soldier readiness and protection in all environments and enables health and wellness for Soldiers, family members, DA civilians, and other populations.  Health risk assessment capabilities and knowledge assets are developed and integrated across the Army Public Health program elements.

Army policy and implementation guidance for health risk assessment is found in Army Regulation 40-5 and DA Pamphlet 40-11.

Army Public Health program elements use health risk assessment techniques that are uniquely tailored to their component specialties. However, the techniques are built upon common concepts and principles that apply across functional areas and across tactical, operational, and strategic levels of decision-making.  DA PAM 40-11 provides a broad framework for Army health risk assessment, establishes key concepts, defines the relationship between risk assessment and risk communication, and provides implementing guidance. Guidance for specific health risk assessment applications and techniques can be developed and published as technical guides or as Technical Bulletins, Medical.


Occupational and environmental health (OEH) surveillance is the regular or repeated collection, analysis, archiving, interpretation, and dissemination of worksite and environmental health-related data for monitoring the potential health hazard impact on the health of populations and individuals.  The objective of OEH surveillance is to protect health and enhance readiness by providing health-risk information used to prevent, treat, or control the occurrence of disease or injury.  OEH surveillance, along with medical surveillance, supports the health surveillance mission.  The deployment OEH surveillance topic page provides additional information. 


Health risk assessment and OEH surveillance capabilities are designed to support risk management decisions.  Risk management is a decision-making process that identifies hazards, assesses hazards, develops and compares hazard controls or solutions, makes risk management decisions, monitors progress, and makes adjustments.  Army health risk assessment capabilities are framed by the Army approach to risk management articulated in ATP 5-19 (Risk Management)External Link , DA PAM 385-30 (Risk Management) External Link, and AR 11-35 (OEH Risk Management)External Link.  In addition, some Army Public Health programs and services use other risk management processes designed for specific decision-making contexts, such as those used to demonstrate compliance with applicable public health regulatory statutes.  Health risk management processes is integrated within tactical, operational, and strategic levels of Army public health.  Program elements, services, capabilities, and levels of implementation differ primarily by the decision contexts, hazard focus areas, and required professional disciplines and training. 


Visit the health risk assessment publications page to access relevant information papers, reports, and guidance. 

Please contact the APHC Environmental Health Risk Assessment Division for support.