Planning Your Industrial Hygiene Program
"Industrial hygiene is a science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, prevention, and control of those environmental factors or stresses arising in or from the workplace which may cause sickness, impaired health and wellbeing, or significant discomfort among workers or among citizens of the community." - American Industrial Hygiene Association
When we are working in industrial hygiene, we're trying to recognize, evaluate, and control the factors that we can that will affect people's health. To keep these factors under control, it's important to have an industrial hygiene program in place. An industrial hygiene program is needed for regulatory compliance, including OSHA's general industry standards, non-regulatory standards, guidelines, and requirements, and public relations and reputation.
Before jumping into the elements of an industrial hygiene program, there are a few questions to ask yourself regarding your expectations for the program:
- What are you trying to do?
- Where do you want to be?
- Do you want to be best in class?
- Do you want to just meet the legal obligations?
- Do you want to have it specific to a certain location?
- Who does the program apply to?
Once you have determined your goals, it's time to dive into the essential elements of an industrial hygiene program. Program elements can include any type of an environmental stressor that can affect people, such as:
- Bloodborne pathogens
- Confined spaces (exposure evaluation portion)
- Noise/hearing conservation
- Hazard communication/laboratory standard
- Chemical-specific standards, hex chromium, lead, benzene, etc.
- Personnel protective equipment
- Respiratory protection
- Ionizing radiation
- Non-ionizing radiation
- Optical radiation
- Biological safety
- Hot and cold environments
- Emergency response
- Unusual work schedules
- Electromagnetic fields
- Work in high or low pressure environments
- And more!
When you’re considering your industrial hygiene program, it’s not just monitoring for chemical exposures. While that is a big component, you need to be thinking of other elements, how they relate, and then determine if they should be brought into your program. To learn more about starting an industrial hygiene program, click the button below to watch our webinar, Planning and Executing a Successful Industrial Hygiene Program.