Preventative hygiene services help businesses reduce employee and client (or guest) health risks through preventing, monitoring and controlling environmental, chemical and biological hazards in the workplace. It can help to avoid costly claims from employees and the legal community for illnesses and injuries that could have been prevented if the right preventive measures had been taken.
A professional industrial hygienist can implement preventative measures to keep the workplace safe from common occupational health problems and they do this by identifying and evaluating potential workplace hazards, recommending effective controls and training staff to ensure that they are aware of their own risks.
According to certified industrial hygienists, there are five basic types of hazards in the workplace that need to be addressed which include environmental, chemical, biological, physical and ergonomic hazards.
Environmental contaminants are a common occupational health problem that can cause diseases like asthma, cancer and silicosis; but be aware that these pollutants can also be found in airborne particles, like dust and aerosols, as well as gasses and vapors.
Industrial hygienists assess and monitor for exposure to environmental hazards by using monitoring equipment, analyzing the environment, assessing air quality, recommending control measures, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), and providing engineering solutions to reduce the amount of pollution an individual is exposed to.
In addition to preventative hygiene, corrective hygiene is the business of reducing or eliminating hazards and accidents in the workplace, so keeping employees and clients safe and productive means higher profits, happier customers and fewer lost production hours.
Depending on your business, it might be time for a little TLC from your trusted industrial hygiene team besides the typical providing of hazard assessments and air quality monitoring as there are professionals who can assist you in the design of a more effective health and safety program, overall.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a well-designed industrial hygiene program can reduce the cost of workplace injuries by up to 161.5 billion dollars a year, which includes preventing accidents and illnesses, recovering wages lost to absenteeism, and avoiding costly insurance premiums for the injured employee.
The best part about these hygienists is that they can work with you on your specific needs, from one-time contaminant samples to long-term programs. A few of our top-notch technicians even offer a complete industrial hygiene program for small and mid-sized businesses.
Having an industrial hygiene department on staff is the right thing to do for many businesses and is typically a good idea to bring in the experts when your organization is considering a new process or construction project. These “gurus: can help you determine which equipment and design will be the most effective in your business model.
Occupational Exposure Assessments
Industrial hygiene services are a set of procedures for identifying, evaluating, and controlling environmental hazards in the workplace that can result in illness, injury, or impairments and can be provided in all types of work environments, including offices, health-care facilities, and emergency response centers.
A comprehensive exposure assessment (www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/exap/default.html) is needed to identify and prioritize risks, develop a control plan, and determine whether an environment can be operated safely because Occupational exposure assessments are performed by certified industrial hygienists (CIHs) and occupational and environmental health professionals.
Prospective assessment is used to characterize the potential for exposure to a chemical or other agent through field observations and/or laboratory analysis but is often done to satisfy regulatory requirements or develop a chemical hazard assessment report for an employer.
Retrospective assessment is done to identify the past occupational exposures of a worker or a group of workers exposed for professional reasons, and this can include chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic stressors and may be accomplished through questionnaire data and/or sampling.
In a world where health is becoming a major concern, organizations need to be sure that their workers, staff, and clients are safe, which is why industrial hygienists offer a variety of monitoring services to help businesses stay on top of safety concerns in their workplace.
It can be an involved process. The first step in any industrial hygiene program is to evaluate potential hazards and their exposure routes which include air contaminants such as particulate, biological and chemical risks. If these hazards aren’t controlled, they can be dangerous for employees.
Another important step is to reassess hazardous conditions as processes, work practices or materials change and this can happen whenever new chemicals are introduced or when an existing process becomes more physically demanding for workers.
During this process, the industrial hygienists at a local professional will work closely with management staff to review current controls and determine whether or not they need to be revised which will include evaluating hazard-related training, administrative policies and procedures to improve employee safety. So make sure you’re prepared before the pros show up!