Occupational Hygiene

Occupational hygiene is a scientific discipline that is all about people; it is about protecting them and keeping them healthy and safe at work no matter what they do. There are a wide range of health hazards that can arise from exposures such as:

  • Fumes

  • Noise

  • Ergonomic

  • Biological

  • Extreme temperatures

  • Vibration

  • Chemicals

  • Dusts

Occupational hygiene helps employers and employees identify hazards in order to minimise them. Occupation hygiene involves the recognition of hazards and most importantly how to control the risk to health. It is where science and engineering meet the human element of the work place

WHY EVALUATE HAZARDS?

  • For compliance: to compare exposure to limit or standard

  • For source characterization: to identify the process generating the hazard

  • For emergency situations: to detect hazards at levels immediately dangerous to life and health

  • For control measures: to ensure that interventions are reducing exposure to the hazard

  • For risk assessment: to calculate exposure and/or dose

REDUCING HAZARDS

1.  Elimination

  • Complete removal of the hazard or the process that produces it from the workplace

  • Responsibility for change not placed on exposed person

2.  Engineering controls

  • Physical, chemical, or biological changes made to a process or a product that reduce exposure to hazards

  • Responsibility for change not placed on exposed person

  • Concepts: substitution, automation, isolation, ventilation, control equipment

3.  Work Practice and Administrative Controls

  • Changes in how, when, or by whom tasks are performed in order to reduce exposure to hazards

  • Management and exposed person responsible for change

4.  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Equipment or clothing used by individual to reduce exposure

  • Exposed individual responsible for change

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