An Industrial Hygienist is a professional who identifies and prevents unhealthy exposures that may cause workplace injuries or illnesses. The Industrial Hygiene applies scientific knowledge to anticipate hazardous conditions that could cause an adverse health effect on a worker or the environment. The IH must also be able to recognize existing hazards and predict the likelihood of their effects. Combining professional judgment and measurements, the IH evaluates hazards and determines methods for preventing or controlling them.
Industrial hygiene is the science of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling workplace conditions that may cause workers’ injury or illness. Hygienists use environmental monitoring and analytical methods to delete the extent of worker exposure and employ engineering, work practice controls, and other methods to control potential health hazards. Its origins arc based on limiting personal exposures to chemicals, and have evolved, to address the control of most other workplace hazards including over-exposure to noise, heat, vibration, and repetitive motion.
The U.S. Congress has passed three landmark pieces of legislation relating to safeguarding workers’ health:
- The Metal and Non metallic Mines Safety Act of 1966,
- The Federal Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969, and
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Act).
- Today, nearly every employer is required to implement the elements of an industrial hygiene and safety, occupational health, or hazard communication program and to be responsive to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Act and its regulations.
Relationship between OSHA and Industrial Hygiene:
Under the Act, OSHA develops and sets mandatory occupational safety and health requirements applicable to the more than 6 million workplaces in the U.S. OSHA relies on among many others, industrial hygienists to evaluate jobs for potential health hazards. Developing and setting mandatory occupational safety and health standards involves determining the extent of employee exposure to hazards and deciding what is needed to control these hazards, thereby protecting the workers.
Industrial hygienists are trained to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and recommend controls for environmental. And physical hazards that can affect the health and well-being of workers. More than 40 percent of the OSHA compliance officers who inspect America’s workplaces are industrial hygienists; Industrial hygienists also play a major role in developing and issuing. OSHA standards to protect workers from health hazards associated with toxic chemicals, biological hazards, and harmful physical agents. They also provide technical assistance and support to the agency’s national and regional offices.
OSHA also employs industrial hygienists who assist in setting up field enforcement procedures. And who issue technical interpretations of OSHA regulations and standards. Industrial hygienists analyze, identify, and measure workplace hazards or stressors that can cause sickness, impaired health. Or significant discomfort in. workers through chemical, physical, ergonomic, or biological exposures. Two roles of the OSHA industrial hygienist are to spot those conditions and help eliminate or control them through appropriate measures.