Industrial hygiene is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as “the science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of those environmental factors or stresses arising in or from the workplace, which may cause sickness, impaired health and well-being, or significant discomfort among workers or among citizens of the community.” Yorke Engineering’s staff is trained to detect potential safety and health hazards in the workplace and evaluate their severity with analytical tools, such as air monitoring. Our Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) is also able to propose measures for controlling these hazards, which may involve the application of work practice protocols and engineering methods in order to comply with OSHA standards.
- Full worksite hazard assessment of all employee activities to identify points of potential risk or exposure, including:
- Indoor Air Quality Evaluations;
- Air Monitoring (Toxics, Particulates, Criteria Pollutants);
- Surface Wipe Testing;
- Noise Measurements; and
- Job-Specific Exposure Testing and Monitoring for Toxics, Air, Noise, and Other Hazards; and
- Determination of compliance status with the applicable mandatory OSHA regulations.
Health and Safety Program Development
- Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) Plans;
- Risk management plans and other controls to mitigate identified workplace hazards;
- Assistance with Safety Data Sheets (SDSs);
- Employee safety training and communications plan;
- Internal Health and Safety permitting;
- Job hazard analysis and communication;
- Contractor hazard management;
- Evaluation of potential community exposures;
- Respiratory protection evaluations; and
- Chemical hygiene plans.
OSHA Inspection and Auditing Support
- OSHA auditing and inspection management;
- Assistance responding to citations; and
- Hazard abatement certification documentation.
- Recordkeeping requirements compliance; and
- Records management.
- Workplace injury and illness records posting process (February-April deadline); and
- Injury Tracking Application (ITA)/Form 300A (March 2nd deadline).
Recognized Hazards and Controls
Yorke can help manage any industrial hazard using the necessary and applicable control methods.
- Air Contaminants: include dusts, fumes, mists and aerosols, fibers, and gases that may be toxic, cause discomfort, or pose other health risks.
- Chemical Hazards: any chemical compound existing as a liquid, solid, or gas that is harmful or irritating upon exposure, either through inhalation, absorption through the skin, or ingestion.
- Biological Hazards: living organisms such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses that can cause illness or infections; these hazards are typically present in laboratory, food processing, or hospital settings.
- Physical Hazards: dangerous machinery and exposure to excessive levels of electromagnetic radiation, noise, vibration, illumination, or temperature.
- Ergonomic Hazards: lifting, holding, pushing, walking, or reaching, among other tasks, especially when carried out in repetition, which may cause physical issues like tendon or muscle strains.
- Engineering: establish a system to reduce/remove the hazard or isolate the worker from the hazard.
- Work practice: establish operational procedures or protocols that minimize risk.
- Administrative: minimize exposure to hazards through appropriate scheduling of production and tasks or the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Industrial hygiene has its regulatory origins with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970). This federal labor law requires that employees in both the private sector and federal government are provided with a hazard-free working environment by their employers. The Act established OSHA, an agency of the Department of Labor that sets and enforces standards for health and safety in the workplace. In addition, OSHA can issue Standard Interpretation letters in response to public or field office inquiries clarifying the standards and how they will be enforced. OSHA standards cover general industrial activity, with some rules applicable specifically to businesses in construction, maritime, and agriculture. Some key hazards regulated by OSHA include toxic chemicals, harmful biological agents, and hazardous machinery. Among the employer responsibilities cited by OSHA are those requiring employers to:
- Thoroughly examine the workplace for hazardous conditions;
- Give proper notice to employees of potential hazards, such as using color codes or labels;
- Mitigate potential dangers through employee training, provision of safety equipment, etc.;
- Correct cited violations by a set deadline and submit required abatement verification documents; and
- Keep records of and report workplace-related employee injury, illness, or death.