Occupational hygiene

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Illustration of Exposure Risk Assessment and Management related to anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control and confirm. Exposure Risk Assessment and Management.JPG
Illustration of Exposure Risk Assessment and Management related to anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control and confirm.

Occupational hygiene (United States: industrial hygiene (IH)) is the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of protection from hazards at work that may result in injury, illness, or affect the well being of workers. These hazards or stressors are typically divided into the categories biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic and psychosocial. [1] The risk of a health effect from a given stressor is a function of the hazard multiplied by the exposure to the individual or group. [2] For chemicals, the hazard can be understood by the dose response profile most often based on toxicological studies or models. Occupational hygienists work closely with toxicologists (see Toxicology) for understanding chemical hazards, physicists (see Physics) for physical hazards, and physicians and microbiologists for biological hazards (see Microbiology Tropical medicine Infection) Environmental and occupational hygienists are considered experts in exposure science and exposure risk management. Depending on an individual's type of job, a hygienist will apply their exposure science expertise for the protection of workers, consumers and/or communities.

Anticipate, recognize, evaluate, control, and confirm (ARECC) is a decision-making framework and process used in the field of industrial hygiene (IH) to anticipate and recognize hazards, evaluate exposures, and control and confirm protection from risks. ARECC supports hazard-informed exposure assessment, exposure-informed hazard assessment, and risk-informed decision making in any endeavor.

Physical hazard Hazard due to a physical agent

A physical hazard is an agent, factor or circumstance that can cause harm with or without contact. They can be classified as type of occupational hazard or environmental hazard. Physical hazards include ergonomic hazards, radiation, heat and cold stress, vibration hazards, and noise hazards. Engineering controls are often used to mitigate physical hazards.

The psychosocial approach looks at individuals in the context of the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on their physical and mental wellness and their ability to function. This approach is used in a broad range of helping professions in health and social care settings as well as by medical and social science researchers.


The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) defines that "occupational hygiene is about the prevention of ill-health from work, through recognizing, evaluating and controlling the risks". [3] The International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) refers to occupational hygiene as the discipline of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating and controlling health hazards in the working environment with the objective of protecting worker health and well-being and safeguarding the community at large. [4] The term "occupational hygiene" (used in the UK and Commonwealth countries as well as much of Europe) is synonymous with industrial hygiene (used in the US, Latin America, and other countries that received initial technical support or training from US sources). The term "industrial hygiene" traditionally stems from industries with construction, mining or manufacturing, and "occupational hygiene" refers to all types of industry such as those listed for "industrial hygiene" as well as financial and support services industries and refers to "work", "workplace" and "place of work" in general. Environmental hygiene addresses similar issues to occupational hygiene but is likely to be about broad industry or broad issues affecting the local community, broader society, region or country.

Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in which disease and infirmity are absent.

Employment is a relationship between two parties, usually based on a contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporation, for profit, not-for-profit organization, co-operative or other entity is the employer and the other is the employee. Employees work in return for payment, which may be in the form of an hourly wage, by piecework or an annual salary, depending on the type of work an employee does or which sector they are working in. Employees in some fields or sectors may receive gratuities, bonus payment or stock options. In some types of employment, employees may receive benefits in addition to payment. Benefits can include health insurance, housing, disability insurance or use of a gym. Employment is typically governed by employment laws, organisation or legal contracts.

The profession of occupational hygiene uses strict and rigorous scientific methodology and often requires professional judgment based on experience and education in determining the potential for hazardous exposure risks in workplace and environmental studies. These aspects of occupational hygiene can often be referred to as the "art" of occupational hygiene and is used in a similar sense to the "art" of medicine. In fact "occupational hygiene" is both an aspect of preventive medicine and in particular occupational medicine, in that its goal is to prevent industrial disease, using the science of risk management, exposure assessment and industrial safety. Ultimately professionals seek to implement "safe" systems, procedures or methods to be applied in the workplace or to the environment.

Medicine The science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of physical and mental illnesses

Medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.

Occupational medicine, until 1960 called industrial medicine, is the branch of medicine which is concerned with the maintenance of health in the workplace, including prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries, with secondary objectives of maintaining and increasing productivity and social adjustment in the workplace.

Risk management Set of measures for the systematic identification, analysis, assessment, monitoring and control of risks

Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities.

The social role of occupational hygiene

Occupational hygienists have been involved historically with changing the perception of society about the nature and extent of hazards and preventing exposures in the workplace and communities. Many occupational hygienists work day-to-day with industrial situations that require control or improvement to the workplace situation however larger social issues affecting whole industries have occurred in the past e.g. since 1900, asbestos exposures that have affected the lives of tens of thousands of people. Occupational hygienists have become more engaged in understanding and managing exposure risks to consumers from products with new regulations such as REACh (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).

Asbestos Group of highly stable, non-flammable silicate minerals with a fibrous structure

Asbestos is a term used to refer to six naturally occurring silicate minerals. All are composed of long and thin fibrous crystals, each fiber being composed of many microscopic 'fibrils' that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes. Asbestos is a well known health hazard, and use of it as a building material is now banned in many countries. Inhalation of the fibres can lead to various lung conditions, including asbestosis and cancer.

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union regulation dating from 18 December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. Its 849 pages took seven years to pass, and it has been described as the most complex legislation in the Union's history and the most important in 20 years. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances and will affect industries throughout the world. REACH entered into force on 1 June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. The regulation also established the European Chemicals Agency, which manages the technical, scientific and administrative aspects of REACH.

More recent issues affecting broader society are, for example in 1976, legionnaires' disease or legionellosis. More recently again in the 1990s, radon, and in the 2000s, the effects of mold from indoor air quality situations in the home and at work. In the later part of the 2000s, concern has been raised about the health effects of nanoparticles.

Radon Chemical element with atomic number 86

Radon is a chemical element with the symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas. It occurs naturally in minute quantities as an intermediate step in the normal radioactive decay chains through which thorium and uranium slowly decay into lead and various other short-lived radioactive elements; radon itself is the immediate decay product of radium. Its most stable isotope, 222Rn, has a half-life of only 3.8 days, making radon one of the rarest elements since it decays away so quickly. However, since thorium and uranium are two of the most common radioactive elements on Earth, and they have three isotopes with very long half-lives, on the order of several billions of years, radon will be present on Earth long into the future in spite of its short half-life as it is continually being generated. The decay of radon produces many other short-lived nuclides known as radon daughters, ending at stable isotopes of lead.

Mold Diverse group of fungi

A mold or mould is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. In contrast, fungi that can adopt a single-celled growth habit are called yeasts.

Nanoparticle Particle with size between 1 and 100 nm with an outer layer

Nanoparticles are particles between 1 and 100 nanometres (nm) in size with a surrounding interfacial layer. The interfacial layer is an integral part of nanoscale matter, fundamentally affecting all of its properties. The interfacial layer typically consists of ions, inorganic and organic molecules. Organic molecules coating inorganic nanoparticles are known as stabilizers, capping and surface ligands, or passivating agents. In nanotechnology, a particle is defined as a small object that behaves as a whole unit with respect to its transport and properties. Particles are further classified according to diameter.

Many of these issues have required the coordination over a number of years of a number of medical and para professionals in detecting and then characterizing the nature of the issue, both in terms of the hazard and in terms of the risk to the workplace and ultimately to society. This has involved occupational hygienists in research, collection of data and to develop suitable and satisfactory control methodologies.

General activities

The occupational hygienist may be involved with the assessment and control of physical, chemical, biological or environmental hazards in the workplace or community that could cause injury or disease. Physical hazards may include noise, temperature extremes, illumination extremes, ionizing or non-ionizing radiation, and ergonomics. Chemical hazards related to dangerous goods or hazardous substances are frequently investigated by occupational hygienists. Other related areas including indoor air quality (IAQ) and safety may also receive the attention of the occupational hygienist. Biological hazards may stem from the potential for legionella exposure at work or the investigation of biological injury or effects at work, such as dermatitis may be investigated.

Chemical hazard workplace hazard involving toxic chemicals

A chemical hazard is a type of occupational hazard caused by exposure to chemicals in the workplace. Exposure to chemicals in the workplace can cause acute or long-term detrimental health effects. There are many types of hazardous chemicals, including neurotoxins, immune agents, dermatologic agents, carcinogens, reproductive toxins, systemic toxins, asthmagens, pneumoconiotic agents, and sensitizers. These hazards can cause physical and/or health risks. Depending on chemical, the hazards involved may be varied, thus it is important to know and apply the PPE especially during the lab.

Environmental hazard

An environmental hazard is a substance, a state or an event which has the potential to threaten the surrounding natural environment / or adversely affect people's health, including pollution and natural disasters such as storms and earthquakes.

Injury Physiological wound caused by an external source

Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage to the body caused by external force. This may be caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and other causes. Major trauma is injury that has the potential to cause prolonged disability or death.

As part of the investigation process, the occupational hygienist may be called upon to communicate effectively regarding the nature of the hazard, the potential for risk, and the appropriate methods of control. Appropriate controls are selected from the hierarchy of control: by elimination, substitution, engineering, administration and personal protective equipment (PPE) to control the hazard or eliminate the risk. Such controls may involve recommendations as simple as appropriate PPE such as a 'basic' particulate dust mask to occasionally designing dust extraction ventilation systems, work places or management systems to manage people and programs for the preservation of health and well-being of those who enter a workplace.

Examples of occupational hygiene include:

Disposable foam earplugs: out of the ear with coins for scale (top) and inserted into the wearer's ear (bottom). Disposable foam earplugs.jpg
Disposable foam earplugs: out of the ear with coins for scale (top) and inserted into the wearer's ear (bottom).

Workplace assessment methods

Although there are many aspects to occupational hygiene work the most known and sought after is in determining or estimating potential or actual exposures to hazards. For many chemicals and physical hazards, occupational exposure limits have been derived using toxicological, epidemiological and medical data allowing hygienists to reduce the risks of health effects by implementing the "Hierarchy of Hazard Controls". Several methods can be applied in assessing the workplace or environment for exposure to a known or suspected hazard. Occupational hygienists do not rely on the accuracy of the equipment or method used but in knowing with certainty and precision the limits of the equipment or method being used and the error or variance given by using that particular equipment or method. Well known methods for performing occupational exposure assessments can be found in "A Strategy for Assessing and Managing Occupational Exposures, Third Edition Edited by Joselito S. Ignacio and William H. Bullock". [5]

The main steps outlined for assessing and managing occupational exposures:

Hierarchy of occupational exposure limits (OELs) Hierarchy of Occupational Exposure Limits.JPG
Hierarchy of occupational exposure limits (OELs)

Basic characterization, hazard identification and walk-through surveys

The first step in understanding health risks related to exposures requires the collection of "basic characterization" information from available sources. A traditional method applied by occupational hygienists to initially survey a workplace or environment is used to determine both the types and possible exposures from hazards (e.g. noise, chemicals, radiation). The walk-through survey can be targeted or limited to particular hazards such as silica dust, or noise, to focus attention on control of all hazards to workers. A full walk-through survey is frequently used to provide information on establishing a framework for future investigations, prioritizing hazards, determining the requirements for measurement and establishing some immediate control of potential exposures. The Health Hazard Evaluation Program from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is an example of an industrial hygiene walk-through survey. Other sources of basic characterization information include worker interviews, observing exposure tasks, material safety data sheets, workforce scheduling, production data, equipment and maintenance schedules to identify potential exposure agents and people possibly exposed.

The information that needs to be gathered from sources should apply to the specific type of work from which the hazards can come from. As mentioned previously, examples of these sources include interviews with people who have worked in the field of the hazard, history and analysis of past incidents, and official reports of work and the hazards encountered. Of these, the personnel interviews may be the most critical in identifying undocumented practices, events, releases, hazards and other relevant information. Once the information is gathered from a collection of sources, it is recommended for these to be digitally archived (to allow for quick searching) and to have a physical set of the same information in order for it to be more accessible. One innovative way to display the complex historical hazard information is with a historical hazards identification map, which distills the hazard information into an easy to use graphical format. [6]


Measurements of noise levels using a sound level meter is a component of the occupational hygiene assessment. US Navy 061026-N-7981E-019 Lt. Cmdr. Paul Treadway, Industrial Hygiene Officer and Assistant Safety Officer of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), uses a sound level meter to demonstrate the high deci.jpg
Measurements of noise levels using a sound level meter is a component of the occupational hygiene assessment.

An occupational hygienist may use one or a number of commercially available electronic measuring devices to measure noise, vibration, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, dust, solvents, gases, and so on. Each device is often specifically designed to measure a specific or particular type of contaminant. Electronic devices need to be calibrated before and after use to ensure the accuracy of the measurements taken and often require a system of certifying the precision of the instrument.

Collecting occupational exposure data is resource- and time-intensive, and can be used for different purposes, including evaluating compliance with government regulations and for planning preventive interventions. [7] [8] The usability of occupational exposure data is influenced by these factors: [9] [10]

In 2018, in an effort to standardize industrial hygiene data collection among workers compensation insurers and to determine the feasibility of pooling collected IH data, IH air and noise survey forms were collected. Data fields were evaluated for importance and a study list of core fields was developed, and submitted to an expert panel for review before finalization. The final core study list was compared to recommendations published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). [11] Data fields essential to standardizing IH data collection were identified and verified. The "essential" data fields are available and could contribute to improved data quality and its management if incorporated into IH data management systems. [12] [13]

Canada and several European countries have been working to establish occupational exposure databases with standardized data elements and improved data quality. These databases include MEGA, COLCHIC, and CWED. [14] [15] [16] [17]

Dust sampling

Nuisance dust is considered to be the total dust in air including inhalable and respirable fractions.

Various dust sampling methods exist that are internationally recognised. Inhalable dust is determined using the modern equivalent of the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) MRE 113A monitor (see section on workplace exposure, measurement & modelling). Inhalable dust is considered to be dust of less than 100 micrometers aerodynamic equivalent diameter (AED) that enters through the nose and or mouth. See Lungs

Respirable dust is sampled using a cyclone dust sampler design to sample for a specific fraction of dust AED at a set flow rate. The respirable dust fraction is dust that enters the 'deep lung' and is considered to be less than 10 micrometers AED.

Nuisance, inhalable and respirable dust fractions are all sampled using a constant volumetric pump for a specific sampling period. By knowing the mass of the sample collected and the volume of air sampled, a concentration for the fraction sampled can be given in milligrams (mg) per metre cubed (m3). From such samples, the amount of inhalable or respirable dust can be determined and compared to the relevant occupational exposure limits.

By use of inhalable, respirable or other suitable sampler (7 hole, 5 hole, et cetera), these dust sampling methods can also used to determine metal exposure in the air. This requires collection of the sample on a methyl-cellulose ester (MCE) filter and acid digestion of the collection media in the laboratory followed by measuring metal concentration though an atomic absorption (or emission) spectrophotometry. Both the UK Health and Safety Laboratory [18] and NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods [19] have specific methodologies for a broad range of metals in air found in industrial processing (smelting, foundries, et cetera).

A further method exists for the determination of asbestos, fibreglass, synthetic mineral fibre and ceramic mineral fibre dust in air. This is the membrane filter method (MFM) and requires the collection of the dust on a grided filter for estimation of exposure by the counting of 'conforming' fibres in 100 fields through a microscope. Results are quantified on the basis of number of fibres per millilitre of air (f/ml). Many countries strictly regulate the methodology applied to the MFM.

Chemical sampling

Two types of chemically absorbent tubes are used to sample for a wide range of chemical substances. Traditionally a chemical absorbent 'tube' (a glass or stainless steel tube of between 2 and 10 mm internal diameter) filled with very fine absorbent silica (hydrophilic) or carbon, such as coconut charcoal (lypophylic), is used in a sampling line where air is drawn through the absorbent material for between four hours (minimum workplace sample) to 24 hours (environmental sample) period. The hydrophilic material readily absorbs water-soluble chemical and the lypophylic material absorbs non water-soluble materials. The absorbent material is then chemically or physically extracted and measurements performed using various gas chromatograph or mass spectrometry methods. These absorbent tube methods have the advantage of being usable for a wide range of potential contaminates. However, they are relatively expensive methods, are time consuming and require significant expertise in sampling and chemical analysis. A frequent complaint of workers is in having to wear the sampling pump (up to 1 kg) for several days of work to provide adequate data for the required statistical certainty determination of the exposure.

In the last few decades, advances have been made in 'passive' badge technology. These samplers can now be purchased to measure one chemical (e.g. formaldehyde) or a chemical type (e.g. ketones) or a broad spectrum of chemicals (e.g. solvents). They are relatively easy to set up and use. However, considerable cost can still be incurred in analysis of the 'badge'. They weigh 20 to 30 grams and workers do not complain about their presence. Unfortunately 'badges' may not exist for all types of workplace sampling that may be required, and the charcoal or silica method may sometimes have to be applied.

From the sampling method, results are expressed in milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) or parts per million (PPM) and compared to the relevant occupational exposure limits.

It is a critical part of the exposure determination that the method of sampling for the specific contaminate exposure is directly linked to the exposure standard used. Many countries regulate both the exposure standard, the method used to determine the exposure and the methods to be used for chemical or other analysis of the samples collected.

Simple representation of exposure risk assessment and management hierarchy based on available information Hierarchies of Exposure Assessment and Management.JPG
Simple representation of exposure risk assessment and management hierarchy based on available information

Exposure management and controls

The hierarchy of control defines the approach used to reduce exposure risks protecting workers and communities. These methods include elimination, substitution, engineering controls (isolation or ventilation), administrative controls and personal protective equipment. Occupational hygienists, engineers, maintenance, management and employees should all be consulted for selecting and designing the most effective and efficient controls based on the hierarchy of control.

Professional societies

The development of industrial hygiene societies originated in the United States, beginning with the first convening of members for the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists in 1938, and the formation of the American Industrial Hygiene Association in 1939. In the United Kingdom, the British Occupational Hygiene Society started in 1953. Through the years, professional occupational societies have formed in many different countries, leading to the formation of the International Occupational Hygiene Association in 1987, in order to promote and develop occupational hygiene worldwide through the member organizations. [20] The IOHA has grown to 29 member organizations, representing over 20,000 occupational hygienists worldwide, with representation from countries present in every continent. [20] [21]

Peer-reviewed literature

There are several academic journals specifically focused on publishing studies and research in the occupational health field. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) has been published jointly since 2004 by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, replacing the former American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal and Applied Occupational & Environmental Hygiene journals. [22] Another seminal occupational hygiene journal would be The Annals of Occuapational Hygiene, published by the British Occupational Hygiene Society since 1958. [23] Further, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health maintains a searchable bibliographic database (NIOSHTIC-2) of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and other communication products. [24]

The hierarchy of controls is an important tool to determine how to control hazards most efficiently and effectively in a workplace. Hierarchy of Controls.PNG
The hierarchy of controls is an important tool to determine how to control hazards most efficiently and effectively in a workplace.

Occupational hygiene as a career

Examples of occupational hygiene careers include:


The basis of the technical knowledge of occupational hygiene is from competent training in the following areas of science and management:

However, it is not rote knowledge that identifies a competent occupational hygienist. There is an "art" to applying the technical principles in a manner that provides a reasonable solution for workplace and environmental issues. In effect an experienced "mentor", who has experience in occupational hygiene is required to show a new occupational hygienist how to apply the learned scientific and management knowledge in the workplace and to the environment issue to satisfactorily resolve the problem.

To be a professional occupational hygienist, experience in as wide a practice as possible is required to demonstrate knowledge in areas of occupational hygiene. This is difficult for "specialists" or those who practice in narrow subject areas. Limiting experience to individual subject like asbestos remediation, confined spaces, indoor air quality, or lead abatement, or learning only through a textbook or “review course” can be a disadvantage when required to demonstrate competence in other areas of occupational hygiene.

Information presented in Wikipedia can be considered to be only an outline of the requirements for professional occupational hygiene training. This is because the actual requirements in any country, state or region may vary due to educational resources available, industry demand or regulatory mandated requirements.

During 2010, the Occupational Hygiene Training Association (OHTA) through sponsorship provided by the IOHA initiated a training scheme for those with an interest in or those requiring training in occupational hygiene. These training modules can be downloaded and used freely. The available subject modules (Basic Principles in Occupational Hygiene, Health Effects of Hazardous Substances, Measurement of Hazardous Substances, Thermal Environment, Noise, Asbestos, Control, Ergonomics) are aimed at the ‘foundation’ and ‘intermediate’ levels in Occupational Hygiene. Although the modules can be used freely without supervision, attendance at an accredited training course is encouraged. These training modules are available from OH Learning.com

Academic programs offering industrial hygiene bachelor's or master's degrees in United States may apply to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) to have their program accredited. As of October 1, 2006, 27 institutions have accredited their industrial hygiene programs. Accreditation is not available for Doctoral programs.

In the U.S., the training of IH professionals is supported by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health through their NIOSH Education and Research Centers.

Professional credentials


In 2005, the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygiene (AIOH) has accredited professional occupational hygienist through a certification scheme. Occupational Hygienists in Australian certified through this scheme are entitled to use the phrase Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH) as part of their qualifications.

United States of America

Practitioners who successfully meet specific education and work-experience requirements and pass a written examination administered by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) are authorized to use the term Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) or Certified Associate Industrial Hygienist (CAIH). Both of these terms have been codified into law in many states in the United States to identify minimum qualifications of individuals having oversight over certain activities that may affect employee and general public health.

After the initial certification, the CIH or CAIH maintains their certification by meeting on-going requirements for ethical behavior, education, and professional activities (e.g., active practice, technical committees, publishing, teaching).

ABIH certification examinations are offered during a spring and fall testing window each year at more than 400 locations worldwide.

The CIH designation is the most well known and recognized industrial hygiene designation throughout the world. There are approximately 6800 CIHs in the world making ABIH the largest industrial hygiene certification organization. The CAIH certification program was discontinued in 2006. Those who were certified as a CAIH retain their certification through ongoing certification maintenance. People who are currently certified by the ABIH can be found in a public roster.

The ABIH is a recognized certification board by the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA). The CIH certification has been accredited internationally by the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC 17024) (see ANSI). In the United States, the CIH has been accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards [CESB].

The Association of Professional Industrial Hygienists, Inc. (APIH) was established in 1994 to offer credentialing to industrial hygienists who meet the education and experience requirements found in Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 62, Chapter 40. [25] APIH adopted the Tennessee Code as its basis for credentialing because it was the first legal definition in the United States of an industrial hygienist in terms of education and experience. The APIH Registration Committee investigates and verifies, through electronic means or correspondence, both educational and experience accomplishments claimed by each applicant for registration. The Committee determines the appropriate level of registration, Registered Industrial Hygienist or Registered Professional Industrial Hygienist, and then authorizes the registration certificate to be issued.


In Canada, a practitioner who successfully completes a written test and an interview administered by the Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists can be recognized as a Registered Occupational Hygienist (ROH) or Registered Occupational Hygiene Technician (ROHT). There is also designation to be recognized as a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP).

United Kingdom

The Faculty of Occupational Hygiene, part of the British Occupational Hygiene Society, represents the interests of professional occupational hygienists.

Membership of the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene is confined to BOHS members who hold a recognized professional qualification in occupational hygiene.

There are three grades of Faculty membership:

  • Licentiate (LFOH) holders will have obtained the BOHS Certificate of Operational Competence in Occupational Hygiene and have at least three years’ practical experience in the field.
  • Members (MFOH) are normally holders of the Diploma of Professional Competence in Occupational Hygiene and have at least five years’ experience at a senior level.
  • Fellows (FFOH) are senior members of the profession who have made a distinct contribution to the advancement of occupational hygiene.

All Faculty members participate in a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) scheme designed to maintain a high level of current awareness and knowledge in occupational hygiene.


The Indian Society of Industrial hygiene was formed in 1981 at Chennai, India. Subsequently, its secretariat was shifted to Kanpur. The society has registered about 400 members, about 90 of whom are life members. The society publishes a newsletter, "Industrial Hygiene Link". The current address of the secretary of the society is Shyam Singh Gautam, Secretary, Indian Society of Industrial Hygiene, 11, Shakti Nagar, Rama Devi, Kanpur 2008005 Mobile number 8005187037.

See also

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Bioenvironmental Engineering

Bioenvironmental Engineering is a process of using engineering principles to reduce and solve environmental health risks and dangers caused by human activity It may comprise four general areas of work : radiation, industrial hygiene, environmental protection and emergency response.

The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance is a German institute located in Sankt Augustin near Bonn.

Workplace health surveillance or occupational health surveillance (U.S.) is the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and dissemination of exposure and health data on groups of workers. The Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health at its 12th Session in 1995 defined an occupational health surveillance system as “a system which includes a functional capacity for data collection, analysis and dissemination linked to occupational health programmes”.

The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) was founded in 1969 by the National Coal Board (NCB) as an independent charity in the UK and retains this charitable purpose and status today. The "Institute" has a subsidiary, IOM Consulting Limited, which became fully independent in 1990 and now celebrates its 25th year within the IOM Group as an independent consultancy and also the commercial part of the IOM organization. It specializes in asbestos surveys and services, occupational hygiene services, nanotechnology safety, laboratory analysis and expert witness consulting services. IOM is therefore one of the UK's major independent "not for profit" centres of scientific excellence in the fields of environmental health, occupational hygiene and occupational safety. Its mission is to benefit those at work and in the community by providing quality research, consultancy, surveys, analysis and training and by maintaining an independent, impartial position as an international centre of excellence.

Occupational safety and health Field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work

Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or workplace health and safety (WHS), is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work. These terms also refer to the goals of this field, so their use in the sense of this article was originally an abbreviation of occupational safety and health program/department etc.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization, whose mission is "Creating knowledge to protect worker health." The American Industrial Hygiene Association works to provide information and resources to Industrial Hygienists and Occupational Health professionals.

Engineering controls are strategies designed to protect workers from hazardous conditions by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard or by removing a hazardous substance through air ventilation. Engineering controls involve a physical change to the workplace itself, rather than relying on workers' behavior or requiring workers to wear protective clothing.

The health and safety hazards of nanomaterials include the potential toxicity of various types of nanomaterials, as well as fire and dust explosion hazards. Because nanotechnology is a recent development, the health and safety effects of exposures to nanomaterials, and what levels of exposure may be acceptable, are subjects of ongoing research. Of the possible hazards, inhalation exposure appears to present the most concern, with animal studies showing pulmonary effects such as inflammation, fibrosis, and carcinogenicity for some nanomaterials. Skin contact and ingestion exposure, and dust explosion hazards, are also a concern.

Occupational exposure banding

Occupational exposure banding, also known as hazard banding, is a process intended to quickly and accurately assign chemicals into specific categories (bands), each corresponding to a range of exposure concentrations designed to protect worker health. These bands are assigned based on a chemical’s toxicological potency and the adverse health effects associated with exposure to the chemical. The output of this process is an occupational exposure band (OEB). Occupational exposure banding has been used by the pharmaceutical sector and by some major chemical companies over the past several decades to establish exposure control limits or ranges for new or existing chemicals that do not have formal OELs. Furthermore, occupational exposure banding has become an important component of the Hierarchy of Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs).

Engineering controls for nanomaterials class of hazard controls for nanomaterials

Engineering controls for nanomaterials are a set of hazard control methods and equipment for workers who interact with nanomaterials. Engineering controls are physical changes to the workplace that isolate workers from hazards, and are considered the most important set of methods for controlling the health and safety hazards of nanomaterials after systems and facilities have been designed.


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Further reading