What is Industrial Hygiene?

Industrial hygiene or occupational hygiene is much more than what people normally think. The name suggests that this concept would be all about keeping the workplace clean from any harmful or dangerous material that can be risky for all workers and employees. However, industrial hygiene goes beyond that as it also includes the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and communication of all stressors that are present in the workplace. In other words, industrial hygiene is not just about keeping the workplace clean, but also about recognizing all and any risks that are present, learning to keep their danger levels at a  minimum, controlling them, and how these dangers as well as the methods with which they should be handled are communicated throughout the whole organization.

The role of occupational hygiene involves the determination of all potential hazards that are in the workplace, as well as the various ways as to how people are exposed to these threats. It also involves environmental studies to see how these risks can be prevented and how they can be properly managed. These methods of assessing, managing, and controlling the different threats and dangers in the workplace make use of scientific methods that allow professionals to test the different elements that are present in the work environment.

Most commonly, industrial hygiene processes are carried out in workplaces with obvious chemical dangers such as in laboratories and various factories. The practice of chemical sampling for example utilizes a special kind of technology that determines the effect of being exposed to certain chemicals, as well as contamination from these chemicals as well. Another method most commonly used to assess industrial hygiene is the practice of dust sampling where the dust or the air in a specific office or area in the offices are tested to see if there are any levels of contamination from potentially harmful elements. This is very essential so as to avoid any dangers that may be caused by the inhalation of certain elements that are neither seen nor felt in the workplace but are still notable threats and dangers.

As part of industrial hygiene, many professionals are also trained in relaying the right information to all workers and employees involved. They are tasked with disseminating information about the hazards of certain chemicals and elements, and they also inform the general public as to how these elements should be handled and managed.

The most successful occupational hygienists are those who have had experiences with the broadest range of industries. Although there are general guidelines as to how certain chemicals and elements should be used and handled, the environment in which they are used is also a very relevant factor. This means that special consideration is given based on the environment of the workplace, as well as the capabilities of the workers involved. Aside from the workplace environment, the regulatory framework of the organization is also important in assessing the risk levels of any workplace. There are truly many factors that should be kept in mind in the practice of occupational hygiene, but it is an effort that all organizations and businesses should be responsible for.