Industrial hygiene is the science of protecting the health and safety of people at work and in their communities.
There is a vast array of health and safety hazards that people are exposed to both at work and in the community. These hazards include things like chemical exposures, physical hazards, biological and ergonomic stressors.
As industrial hygienists, our job is to prevent injury and illness by anticipating and recognizing hazards, evaluating exposures, and controlling and confirming protection from the risks posed by those hazards. Many companies have developed Industrial Hygiene Programs to assist in accomplishing these activities with a consistent and well-defined approach.
Key steps in anticipating and recognizing hazards is to first identify a job or task and analyze each step for potential hazards. For work-related jobs, the best approach is to utilize a team comprised of employees familiar with the job and industrial hygienists or safety professionals with knowledge about the hazard analysis process. A prioritized list of jobs to analyze may be developed from knowledge of prior work accidents, near misses, employee concerns, or a combination.
Once hazards have been identified, it is sometimes necessary to perform sampling to quantify and evaluate the level of exposure. For instance, if a job involves using a equipment that is loud or must be conducted in a noisy environment, then the noise hazard may warrant further evaluation by using noise dosimeters to measure the noise exposure over the course of an 8-hour work shift. Similarly, if a chemical hazard is present then air sampling may be needed to determine the concentration of airborne chemical that the employee is being otherwise exposed to.
Once the hazards have been evaluated, then they can be controlled to a level where the risk of injury or illness is either eliminated, or at least reduced to an acceptable level. Often, testing is conducted again after controls are implemented to confirm their effectiveness in eliminating or reducing the exposure.
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There are many different aspects of Industrial Hygiene that we at Braun Intertec are prepared to assist you with. If you have any questions on industrial hygiene, worker exposure, hazard evaluation and control, and other considerations for your facility, please give us a call or click the link below to fill out our Contact Us form.