The Ins and Outs of Industrial Hygiene

What is Industrial Hygiene?

In the realm of workplace health and safety, one area stands out above the others: industrial hygiene. As companies work hard to make sure their workplaces are safe and their employees stay healthy, industrial hygiene experts become more and more important. But what exactly is industrial hygiene, and why does it matter so much? In this blog, we'll break down what industrial hygiene is all about, why it's so important, and how it helps make workplaces safer for everyone.

What Is Industrial Hygiene?

Industrial hygiene is the process of identifying, evaluating, and reducing any environmental stresses or hazards at work that might affect the health and safety of employees and community members. These problems can be divided into several groups, such as:

  • Chemical hazards

  • Biological hazards

  • Physical hazards 

  • Ergonomic hazards 

  • Air pollutants

In a perfect world, all hazards would be identified and managed during the design of a workplace. However, if circumstances or protocols change or new problems arise in annual evaluations before they become issues for employees, this is when an industrial hygienist can help. Industrial hygienists develop plans to avoid workplace illnesses, injuries, and stresses, which can have both short- and long-term consequences for the health and well-being of employees. 

 OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires companies to protect employees by adhering to industrial hygiene regulations and occupational health standards. Industrial hygiene uses several processes to identify, analyze, and control workplace conditions and hazards to prevent dangerous work environments. 

What Does an Industrial Hygienist Do? 

OSHA defines industrial hygienists as people who are educated to “anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and recommend controls for environmental and physical hazards that can affect the health and well-being of workers.” They are also responsible for assisting companies in understanding and complying with federal, state, and local safety standards.

Specifically, industrial hygienists can:

  • Use applied scientific principles to detect hazards

  • Compile and evaluate data on workplace danger.

  • Interpret toxicological reports

  • Establish controls and remediation plans to handle hazards and risks.

  • Collaborate with organizational management to convey and integrate these initiatives effectively.

  • Manage and monitor programs to promote workplace health.

How Does Industrial Hygiene Benefit You? 

The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic highlighted the significance of industrial hygiene, prompting businesses to implement new safety protocols and regulations. OSHA has long recognized industrial hygiene as a crucial part of a healthy work environment. Your company likely faces occupational illnesses and accidents, including those in manufacturing, construction, and oil and gas projects. However, certain workplace dangers can lead to worker fatalities.

Industrial Hygiene practices can be utilized at any workplace that could pose a health risk to employees. Some risks could include: 

  • Noise 

  • Respiratory 

  • Chemical 

  • Exposure limits 

  • And more

An industrial hygiene program is essential for worker safety since it reduces hazards, improves air quality, and prevents accidents. It helps companies by increasing productivity, employee retention, and recruiting since they feel more at ease working in a firm that values health and safety. Neglecting a program can result in significant costs, including worker compensation, penalties, accident-related expenses, and a damaged corporate reputation. 

Get Trained With AdvanceOnline

By identifying, assessing, and controlling workplace hazards, industrial hygienists play a big role in preventing occupational illnesses, injuries, and fatalities. Businesses that prioritize industrial hygiene not only safeguard the health and well-being of their employees but also reap numerous benefits, including improved morale, reduced healthcare costs, and regulatory compliance. 

Consider enrolling in one of the many compliance and safety courses AdvanceOnline offers. We’re here to help in evaluating workplace conditions and creating safer environments. By incorporating industrial hygiene concepts into health standards and enforcing job safety regulations, America's workplaces can become more healthful and safer. Get started today!

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