According to the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), Industrial Hygienists are “scientists and engineers committed to protecting the health and safety of people in the workplace and the community.” In fact, Industrial Hygienists are key members in most IAQ investigations and can help you determine when the input of other professions is needed.
Typical responsibilities of the Industrial Hygienist include:
- Investigating and examining the workplace for hazards and potential dangers
- Making recommendations on improving the safety of workers and the surrounding community
- Conducting scientific research to provide data on possible harmful conditions in the workplace
- Developing techniques to anticipate and control potentially dangerous situations in the workplace
- Training and educating the workers about job-related risks
- Advising company leadership and participating in the development of regulations to ensure the health and safety of workers and their families
- Ensuring that workers are properly following health and safety procedures
Industrial Hygienists have a key set of skills that includes knowledge of and control measures for occupational and environmental hazards, and are frequently called upon to participate in or lead occupational and environmental health programs at both local and corporate levels. This unique skill set enables Industrial Hygienists to contribute to the success of the organization and the health of its employees and the environment in ways few other professionals can.
In addition to IAQ, Industrial Hygienists deal with the health and safety challenges facing people everywhere including:
- Evaluating and controlling environmental lead exposure
- Emergency response planning and community right-to-know
- Occupational disease (AIDS in the workplace, tuberculosis, silicosis)
- Potentially hazardous agents such as asbestos, pesticides, and radon gas
- Radiation (electromagnetic fields, microwaves)
- Setting limits on exposure to chemical and physical agents
- Detection and control of potential occupational hazards such as noise, radiation, and illumination
- Hazardous waste management
What important role does the Industrial Hygienist play in your organization? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section of this blog.