Industrial Hygiene Services
Industrial Hygiene is the science devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of those environmental factors or stresses that typically arise in (or from) the workplace, which may cause sickness, impaired health and well-being, or significant discomfort among workers or among citizens of a community. Industrial hygiene includes the development of corrective measures in order to control health hazards by either reducing or eliminating the exposure. These control procedures may include such measures as the substitution of harmful or toxic materials with less dangerous ones, changing of work processes to eliminate or minimize work exposure, installation of exhaust ventilation systems, good housekeeping techniques, and the provision of proper personal protection equipment.
Typically employee exposure monitoring is conducted when employees report that they are experiencing discomfort, illness, or other symptoms while performing work activities. Monitoring can be conducted in order to determine what employees are being exposed to while on the job. A determination as to the type of exposure needs to be assessed (i.e., chemical, physical, or biological). Once that determination is made, a sampling strategy can be developed in order to measure the employees' work day exposures to the specific type of stressors. The actual work day exposure results will then help to determine what type of control measures would be best suited to minimize or eliminate hazardous exposures.
Noise Exposure Assessments
In most industrial facilities, there are noise exposures to the employees from production equipment or the type of process being conducted. Natural hearing loss occurs with the aging process. However, industrial hearing loss is something that can be prevented. There are two methods for the determination of noise exposures. First is noise dosimetry, whereby employees are monitored to determine the work day noise dose. The dose includes the average noise exposure over the entire work day as well as the peak or highest noise readings during the work day. The second is octave band analysis. This technique can actually "finger print" the sound frequencies produced at a specific operation and then determine which sound frequencies may be affecting nearby employees. From the results of either of these noise measurement techniques, control measures can be instituted to reduce the employees' work day noise exposure and help prevent industrial hearing loss.
Exposure Risk Assessments
Loss work days are one of the highest preventable costs that companies face in recent years. Through the use of exposure risk assessments, loss time incidences can be reduced. The risk assessment begins with a review of loss time incidences throughout a company, followed by an analysis of those operations with the highest loss time incidence rates. These operations can then be examined to determine where exposure risks can be reduced through either changing work practices, controlling hazard exposures, or through designing a healthier operation process.
Baseline Exposure Monitoring
Most industrial facilities have no air monitoring data for operations at their facility, which most regulatory agencies do not like to observe. Therefore, conducting baseline exposure monitoring on all operations that may have potential exposure hazards is a proactive measure that employers can undertake. The results of the baseline exposure monitoring will provide data to the employer indicating potential exposures with specific operations as well as possibly preventing monetary fines from regulatory agencies. The data can be used to determine if some hazard control measures may be necessary and which operations and/or employees may require periodic exposure monitoring whereby products, materials, and processes are changed.