Occupational Hygiene Services
As an employer, it is increasingly important to provide a safe working space for your employees.
Small, everyday occurrences, such as the way you sit at your desk, can have an impact on your long-term health, so mitigating these risks is key to ensure a high quality of life.Find out how occupational hygiene can help your business below. Alternatively, if you are pressed for time, speak to a member of our team now to find out how we can help to make your workplace safer.
What is occupational hygiene?
‘Occupational Hygiene’ is a term that describes the process of ensuring a safe working environment for employees. This works through a three-step process:
- Identify stressors that have the potential to negatively impact on workers in the workplace;
- Evaluate the risk caused by exposure to these stressors; and
- Control the risk to protect workers from suffering harm at their workplaces.
Occupational hygiene protects workers through prevention, minimising exposure to chemical, physical, psychological and biological agents in the work environment that could cause harm. Assessments are undertaken by trained occupational hygienists.
What are occupational hygiene stressors?
Occupational hygiene stressors are a term for potential workplace hazards. Different industry sectors will have emphasis on different types of stressor. For example, the hazardous agents identified on a construction site will be different to those found in an office-based company.
There are five main types of stressors that occupational hygiene is concerned with:
Biological agents: This covers stressors such as bacteria or fungi. Bacteria or fungi can be present due to the temperature of the workplace, the types of industry or processing that is occurring, or because of damage to the workplace, such as flooding.
Chemical agents: This covers all gases, vapours, solids, fibres, liquids, dusts, mists and fumes, either natural or man-made, that a worker may be exposed to as part of their job. Workplaces have a responsibility to ensure exposures to these agents are maintained as low as reasonably practicable. This can be achieved through the implementation of appropriate controls, adjustments to processes or through the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the workers affected.
Physical agents: This refers to anything that is part of the physical environment such as noise and vibration, the temperature of the workplace (or its effect on the temperature of the worker), which includes heat and cold. Specialist industrial processes that generate electromagnetic fields would be covered as well as factors that apply to all workplaces such as lighting.
Ergonomic factors: This relates to how a worker occupies physical space in their workplace; including how they sit, for example at a desk, and how they stand and move, for example lifting or stretching. Any repetitive motion they need to undertake as part of their role would also be assessed.
Psychological factors: This covers the effect the workload and work environment has on the individual, such as stress.
WHAT IS AN OCCUPATIONAL HYGIENIST?
Occupational hygienists are drawn from the disciplines of chemistry, engineering, physics, safety, environmental science, and biology.
Through a combination of post-graduate study and experience, they acquire the required knowledge of toxicology, physiology, occupational diseases, epidemiology, ergonomics and occupational health and safety law as well as an understanding of the principles of hazard control.
This experience allows them to be excellent at anticipating, recognising, evaluating and controlling health hazards in the working environment. As well as the above, an occupational hygienist will also:
- Investigate the causes of work-related ill health
- Assist with occupational health related activities such as health surveillance and biological monitoring
- Provide training for workers to inform them of the hazards associated with their work and educate them in the use of correct control measures
- Look at methods of continuous improvement in the recognition, evaluation and control of exposure.
HOW CAN AN OCCUPATIONAL HYGIENE CONSULTATION HELP MY BUSINESS?
An occupational hygiene consultation can help your business in the following ways:
- It improves your worker’s health and increases their life expectancy
- It reduces the number of people lost to your organisation through work related injury or illness
- It contributes towards the development of efficient working processes through the addition of technological improvements to maintain worker health
- Occupational hygienists encourage the adoption of good ergonomic practices to protect workers from developing short and long-term health complications
WHERE CAN I GET OCCUPATIONAL HYGIENE SERVICES?
Here at EDP, we offer a comprehensive package of occupational hygiene support that can be tailored to the unique needs of your workplace.
Our occupational hygiene team works in conjunction with leading ISO-accredited equipment providers and NATA accredited laboratories to ensure the highest standard of calibrated equipment and quick, efficient and accurate sample analysis.
Our occupational hygiene consultants are experienced in the following areas:
- Occupational noise assessments
- Workplace lighting surveys
- Thermal stress assessments
- Indoor air quality
- Real-time monitoring for dusts particulates and gases
- Exposure monitoring for heavy metals, silica, organic compounds and toxic vapours
- Development of occupational hygiene sampling programs
- Provision of ad-hoc occupational hygiene advice
If you would like to develop your occupational hygiene and improve the health of your workers, then contact our expert team to see how EDP can support you to develop a healthy workplace.