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Course 750 - Introduction to Industrial Hygiene

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Industrial Hygiene and OSHA

How Are OSHA and Industrial Hygiene Related?

What is Industrial Hygiene - AIHA

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, or IHs, to evaluate jobs for potential health hazards. More than 40% of OSHA's compliance officers are IHs.

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. Important IH responsibilities include:

  • Identifying, measuring and analyzing workplace health hazards and exposures (chemical, physical, biological, ergonomic) that can cause sickness, impaired health, or significant discomfort.
  • Recommending hazard control strategies to eliminate/reduce hazards and employee exposure to hazards.

Worksite Analysis

analysis

To be effective in recognizing and evaluating on-the-job hazards and recommending controls, industrial hygienists must be familiar with the characteristics of all hazards. Major job risks can include air contaminants, and chemical, biological, physical, and ergonomic hazards. A worksite analysis is an essential first step that helps an industrial hygienist determine what jobs and work stations are the sources of these potential and existing hazards.

During the worksite analysis, the industrial hygienist measures and identifies exposures, problem tasks, and risks. The most effective worksite analyses include all jobs, operations, and work activities.

The industrial hygienist inspects, researches, or analyzes how the particular chemicals or physical hazards at that worksite affect worker health. If a situation hazardous to health is discovered, the industrial hygienist recommends the appropriate corrective actions.

Recognizing and Controlling Hazards

What is Industrial Hygiene - AIHA

Industrial hygienists recognize several primary hazard control strategies to eliminate or reduce hazards and employee exposure. These basic control strategies are further organized into a "Hierarchy of Controls" as follows:

Elimination - removes the hazard. This strategy totally eliminates the hazard from the workplace. This should be the top priority for all safety professionals including industrial hygienists. An example of this strategy includes replacing a hazardous chemical with a totally non-toxic, safe, chemical.

Substitution - reduces the hazard. This strategy should be used if it is not feasible to eliminate the hazard. The idea is to replace the hazard with a less hazardous substitute. An example would be to replace a hazardous chemical with a less hazardous one. There would still be a need for protection like personal protective equipment, but the hazards of exposure would be less serious.

Engineering controls - remove/reduce the hazard through design. This strategy involves the design or redesign of tools, equipment, machinery and facilities so that hazardous chemicals are not needed or that exposure to those hazardous chemicals are not possible. Examples include using equipment that does not require the use of hazardous chemicals in a process or for cleaning. Enclosing work processes or installing general and local ventilation systems might also be used.

It's important to understand that these three strategies are the most effective and primary means to control hazards in the workplace. The next strategies discussed focus in on controlling exposures not hazards.

Recognizing and Controlling Hazards(Continued)

Napo in...Danger: chemicals!

Administrative controls - eliminate/reduce exposure to hazards. This strategy to helps to reduce exposure by developing and implementing effective training, policies, processes, procedures, practices and safety rules. Examples include scheduling production and worker tasks in ways that minimize exposure levels. The employer might schedule operations with the highest exposure potential during periods when the fewest employees are present.

Work practice controls - eliminate/reduce exposure through safe practices. Following safe procedures while operating production and control equipment, good housekeeping, and safe practices like not eating, drinking, smoking, in regulated areas are all good examples of work practice controls.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - eliminates/reduces exposure through personal barriers. This strategy is generally used in conjunction with the other strategies to reduce exposure. When effective elimination, substitution and engineering controls are not feasible appropriate PPE such as gloves, safety goggles, helmets, safety shoes, and protective clothing may be required. To be effective, PPE must be individually selected, properly fitted and periodically refitted; conscientiously and properly worn; regularly maintained; and replaced as necessary.

It's important to note that administrative/work practices controls and personal protective equipment are the primary control strategies used by IHs to control exposure to health hazards in the workplace.

Instructions

Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. Industrial hygienists are trained to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and recommend controls for environmental and physical hazards.

2. More than _______ of the OSHA compliance officers who inspect America's workplaces are industrial hygienists.

3. During the worksite analysis, the industrial hygienist measures and identifies _______.

4. Mike is an Industrial Hygienist and he is performing a worksite analysis. In order for Mike's worksite analysis to be as effective as possible he should include _____.

5. Mary is an Industrial Hygienist and has just discovered a situation "hazardous to health" at a worksite. What should she do?

6. Industrial hygienists recognize several primary hazard control strategies to eliminate or reduce hazards and employee exposure. These basic control strategies are organized into _____.

7. As a result of a worksite analysis, replacement of a toxic chemical with a less hazardous one is recommended. Which of the control strategies below is being recommended?

8. Bill is following proper procedures that minimize exposures while operating production and control equipment. This is an example of _______.

9. Samantha is a manager at a worksite. She is scheduling operations with the highest exposure potential during periods when the fewest employees are present. This is an example of _____.


Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.