|Hierarchy of hazard controls|
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.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. 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.
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".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. 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, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, as it may have limited value for implementation. Health may be defined as the ability to adapt and manage physical, mental and social challenges throughout life.
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 she or he is 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, regulations 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 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 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.
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 is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals, which all have in common, their asbestiform habit: i.e., long, thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic "fibrils" that can be released by abrasion and other processes. The minerals are chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite.
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 is a chemical element with 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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:
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".
The main steps outlined for assessing and managing occupational exposures:
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.
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. Such devices are often subject to multiple interferences. 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.
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 Laboratoryand NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods 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.
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.
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.
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.The IOHA has grown to 29 member organizations, representing over 20,000 occupational hygienists worldwide, with representation from countries present in every continent.
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.Another seminal occupational hygiene journal would be The Annals of Occuapational Hygiene, published by the British Occupational Hygiene Society since 1958. 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.
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.
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.
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.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).
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:
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.
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 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.
Isocyanate is the functional group with the formula R–N=C=O. Organic compounds that contain an isocyanate group are referred to as isocyanates. An organic compound that with two isocyanate groups is known as a diisocyanate. Diisocyanates are manufactured for the production of polyurethanes, a class of polymers.
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) is a professional association of industrial hygienists and practitioners of related professions, with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of its goals is to advance worker protection by providing timely, objective, scientific information to occupational and environmental health professionals.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is the United States federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The threshold limit value (TLV) of a chemical substance is believed to be a level to which a worker can be exposed day after day for a working lifetime without adverse effects. Strictly speaking, TLV is a reserved term of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). TLVs issued by the ACGIH are the most widely accepted occupational exposure limits both in the United States and most other countries. However, it is sometimes loosely used to refer to other similar concepts used in occupational health and toxicology, such as acceptable daily intake (ADI) and tolerable daily intake (TDI). Concepts such as TLV, ADI, and TDI can be compared to the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) in animal testing, but whereas a NOAEL can be established experimentally during a short period, TLV, ADI, and TDI apply to human beings over a lifetime and thus are harder to test empirically and are usually set at lower levels. TLVs, along with biological exposure indices (BEIs), are published annually by the ACGIH.
Sawdust or wood dust is a by-product or waste product of woodworking operations such as sawing, milling, planing, routing, drilling and sanding. It is composed of fine particles of wood. These operations can be performed by woodworking machinery, portable power tools or by use of hand tools. Wood dust is also the byproduct of certain animals, birds and insects which live in wood, such as the woodpecker and carpenter ant. In some manufacturing industries it can be a significant fire hazard and source of occupational dust exposure.
An occupational hazard is a hazard experienced in the workplace. Occupational hazards can encompass many types of hazards, including chemical hazards, biological hazards (biohazards), psychosocial hazards, and physical hazards. In the United States, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conduct workplace investigations and research addressing workplace health and safety hazards resulting in guidelines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes enforceable standards to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. In the EU a similar role is taken by EU-OSHA.
Control banding is a qualitative or semi-quantitative risk assessment and management approach to promoting occupational health and safety. It is intended to minimize worker exposures to hazardous chemicals and other risk factors in the workplace and to help small businesses by providing an easy-to-understand, practical approach to controlling hazardous exposures at work.
An occupational exposure limit is an upper limit on the acceptable concentration of a hazardous substance in workplace air for a particular material or class of materials. It is typically set by competent national authorities and enforced by legislation to protect occupational safety and health. It is an important tool in risk assessment and in the management of activities involving handling of dangerous substances. There are many dangerous substances for which there are no formal occupational exposure limits. In these cases, hazard banding or control banding strategies can be used to ensure safe handling.
PIMEX is one of the so-called video exposure monitoring methods which are used in occupational hygiene practise since their introduction in the mid-1980s. The name PIMEX is an acronym from the words PIcture Mix EXposure, and implies that the method is based on mixing pictures, in this case from a video camera, with data on a worker’s exposure to some agent. The main idea of the method is to make invisible hazards in the work environment visible and in this manner facilitate the reduction of hazards in workplaces.
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 British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is a science-based, charitable body that provides information, expertise and guidance in the recognition, control and management of workplace health risks.
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 (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.
Occupational hearing loss (OHL) is hearing loss that occurs as a result of occupational hazards, such as excessive noise and ototoxic chemicals. OHL is a prevalent occupational concern in various work environments worldwide. In the United States, organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) work with employers and workers to reduce or eliminate occupational hearing hazards through a hierarchy of hazard controls. OHL is one of the most common work-related illness in the United States. Occupational hearing hazards include industrial noise, and exposure to various ototoxic chemicals. Combined exposure to both industrial noise and ototoxic chemicals may cause more damage than either one would in isolation. Many chemicals have not been tested for ototoxicity, so unknown threats may exist.
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.
Occupational epidemiology is a subdiscipline of epidemiology that focuses on investigations of workers and the workplace. Occupational epidemiologic studies examine health outcomes among workers, and their potential association with conditions in the workplace including noise, chemicals, heat, or radiation, or work organization such as schedules.
Occupational dust exposure can occur in various settings, including agriculture, forestry, and mining. Dust hazards include those that arise from handling grain and cotton, as well as from mining coal. Wood dust, commonly referred to as "sawdust", is another occupational dust hazard that can pose a risk to workers' health.
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, 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 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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