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Occupational hygiene: What is it?

Industrial hygiene, commonly referred to as occupational hygiene, employs science and engineering to avoid illnesses brought on by the workplace environment. It may offer pleasurable and lucrative job opportunities in business, government, consulting, instruction, or research.

Rarely a day goes by without a mention of illnesses or impairments brought on by labor appearing in the media, on television, or online. The effects might be reversible in some circumstances. In many others, negative health impacts are irreversible and can even reduce life expectancy.

Occupational hygiene aids in reducing risks and enhancing working conditions and procedures for both employers and employees.

Workplace risks

Health risks have always existed in the workplace.

  • The lead that plumbers used for joints and pipes has poisoned them.

  • Boys who cleaned chimneys perished from cancer brought on by soot-related elements.

  • The silica in grinding wheels induced pulmonary conditions in young people who worked as cutlery grinders.

Some past concerns have been eradicated, and others have been brought under control thanks to improved workplace hygiene practices. However, many areas of the world continue to have low standards. Additionally, as technology and culture change, there are constantly new hazards that we must recognize and address, ideally before they lead to illness or impairment.

Today’s challenges and health risks

The variety of health risks at work is wider now than it has ever been. We are aware of the health risks posed by infectious diseases, electromagnetic fields, noise, extremes of heat or cold, ergonomic stress, ionizing radiation, microwaves, and psychological stress, in addition to chemical threats.

Occupational hygienists are responsible for safeguarding employees from the risks posed by cutting-edge technologies like semiconductor manufacturing and highly potent drugs. We must be aware of the dangers posed by developing technologies like nano, genetics, and others. The effects of shifting demographics and employment trends must be taken into account. Occupational hygiene is a career and a sector that is always difficult.

Occupational hygienist profiles

The science of preventing illness from work-related activities is known as occupational hygiene. Practitioners of it come from a range of backgrounds. They may be chemists, engineers, biologists, physicists, doctors, nurses, or other experts who have chosen to use their training to safeguard employees’ health.

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of occupational hygiene, practitioners must have a broad and firm foundation of knowledge across all of these areas and more. A basic body of knowledge that can only be referred to as “occupational hygiene” and a systematic approach to reducing health risks at work are shared by all practitioners.

Occupational hygiene benefits

Both workers and industry profit from good occupational hygiene. It leads to:

  • Improvements in employee health and increased life expectancy

  • There has been a decrease in the number of workers forced to leave their jobs early due to illness or injury.

  • increasing worker potential while reducing social and healthcare expenditures.

  • improved technological techniques that result in more productive working methods.