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What is Industrial Hygiene?

There are countless industries across the globe, and while they are different enough to make up all of industrialized society, they are also similar enough to face many of the same challenges. One of the biggest challenges that companies across various industries face is maintaining adequate and effective industrial hygiene. This is more than just OSHA regulations, and it can take a professional industrial hygienist to help keep your company’s exposure to liability minimized. 

What Is Industrial Hygiene – What Does An Industrial Hygienist Do?

Industrial hygiene is a practice based on the identification, assessment, and control of workplace hazards that have the potential to cause illness, injury, or other adverse health effects. This involves a combination of both science and engineering to ensure the health and safety of workers in various industries. Industrial hygiene plays an incredibly important role in the workplace, as it helps to prevent occupational illnesses and injuries, which can have significant social and economic consequences. An industrial hygienist is a person, team, or entire company that is responsible for overseeing the general processes of industrial hygiene. 

Importance of Industrial Hygiene

Industrial hygiene is highly important for helping to promote and maintain workplace safety, and for preventing illnesses or injuries associated with specific occupations or industries. It helps identify potential hazards, like exposure to dangerous chemicals, dust, or equipment that could pose a danger of accident, injury, or illness due to prolonged exposure. Effective industrial hygiene practices can reduce workers’ compensation costs, insurance premiums, and legal liabilities for employers, which can make it incredibly valuable to have done correctly.

Principles Of Industrial Hygiene

The basic principles of industrial hygiene provide a systematic approach to identifying and controlling potential workplace hazards. There are many principles, but some of the primary ones include:

  • Hazard Recognition – Identifying various chemical, physical, biological, or ergonomic hazards that are present. This requires a deep understanding of the industry and work environment.
  • Exposure Assessment – This step is determining the full extent of a worker’s potential exposure to previously identified hazardous conditions.
  • Controls – Controls involve implementing various measures to eliminate or reduce the potential exposure to or danger from hazards.
  • Occupational Health – This is where workers’ health is promoted and specialized medical care is made available to those in a particular occupation.
  • Safety – Safety involves making sure effective measures are put in place to protect workers from various hazards or injuries in the workplace.
  • Training – Training keeps workers updated with the most effective best practices for safety and accident avoidance at work, and helps keep their operational skills honed. 
  • Program Evaluation – Part of having an effective program in place is making sure that the program is periodically reviewed and assessed, being updated or revised as needed. 

Advances & Challenges In Industrial Hygiene

Even with all of the advances being made every day across all industries to make workplaces safer, there are still considerable challenges faced. Some of these challenges include:

Emerging & Unknown Hazards

Perhaps one of the most troubling is the potential for hazards that we cannot yet identify, or that are not completely understood. A historical example would be asbestos in the 1950s, and a future example is the potential for nanotech materials to pose dangers.

Increased Globalization

As businesses in general become more and more globalized each year, adapting industrial hygiene to various cultures, workplaces, and regulatory bodies could pose a challenge.

Limited Resources

There is always a limit to resources, whether they’re financial, human, or equipment. These constraints will always have a role to play in the ability to effectively implement industrial hygiene.

Trust Home Biotesting To Be Your Industrial Hygiene Expert

If you run a business of any type, having quality industrial hygiene is a vital component to making sure you have limited exposure to potential workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Home Biotesting is uniquely equipped to provide leading industrial hygiene services, no matter what industry you’re in. Reach out today for more information.