It’s not uncommon for businesses to be unexpectedly confronted by employee complaints about occupational health. Such complaints may involve exposure to chemical vapor or dust, a problem with a paint system, noise, a laser cutting table and many other seemingly complex issues. Employers are required to recognize and control occupational health hazards in the same manner as they do safety hazards.
Obviously, occupational health is the second part of OSHA’s name: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The science of occupational health is called “industrial hygiene,” which is defined as “that 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.” Professionals who specialize in this field are called Industrial Hygienists, and the highest designation for an Industrial Hygienist is Certified Industrial Hygiene (CIH). This title is conferred by the Governing Board of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
OSHA standards include many regulatory requirements for exposure and control of occupational health hazards. New technologies and new chemical substances are not commonly found in OSHA, so we look to other organizations (including the manufacturer) for guidance. Some common occupational health issues include:
Regardless of the contaminant, air monitoring (sampling) is necessary to determine exposure. To provide sampling small air pumps are worn by a worker and air is drawn through several types of collection devices-different for dusts, vapor and some reactive chemicals.
Occupational health issues can easily be overlooked until a problem arises. The best practice is to survey your operations to determine possible concerns.
Register now for our August 14 webinar “Managing industrial hygiene to prevent worker injury and illness,” in which we will further explore common areas of concern and discuss best practices for establishing a system for evaluation.
Nick assists clients with their day-to-day risk management and safety needs.
Nick assists clients with their day-to-day risk management and safety needs. He provides OSHA compliance assistance, DOT and fleet safety management, facility safety and health audits, and safety committee development. These initiatives have helped clients reduce workplace injuries and ensure regulatory compliance. In addition to his role in loss control, Nick is a passionate claims advocate. He monitors and negotiates large, complex property, liability and workers’ compensation claims with the insurance companies and independent claims adjusters. He also assists with the information exchange between contractors or occupational medicine teams, insurance adjusters, employee claimants, and client contacts. This daily claims management provides tighter reserves, more proactive risk management with all affected parties and, in the case of a workers’ compensation claim, earlier return to work and expense reductions.
If you could give human form to your safety culture, what would it look like?
Maybe it would be a thick-set, shirtless brute named Trog with a foul disposition beating out a drum cadence to keep your employees rowing in-sync.
Or would it be more like a fussy and constantly disapproving Dickensian paper-pusher named Fizzlewhite who has never met a rule or procedure he didn’t like, even though he hasn’t done most of the things he creates rules to address?
If you were to search the various “mommy blogs” and parenting advice websites out there, how many of them do you think would endorse the following practice?
A child’s safety should always be a top priority for any parent. When leaving children under the age of 10 alone in the house for lengthy periods of time, be sure to provide the kids with a loaded pistol with the safety off in case a stranger should happen by. In a pinch, recently sharpened knives can be substituted for the pistol.
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