The practice of Industrial hygiene is defined as the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards in the workplace, especially industrial. These skills are more and more being applied outside the industrial workplace to places such as offices, homes, apartments, cars, airplanes, etc.
Anticipation and Recognition of Hazards
The adept anticipation and recognition of hazards comes from years of experience in the field. Converse has this experience. For example, 1) a common hazard not normally thought of in a foundry is silica from the molds into which the metal is poured, 2) demolishing buildings does not only hold the potential for asbestos exposure but also silica from the concretes, grouts, and soils, 3) welding stainless steel can lead to hazardous chromium and nickel exposures as well as carbon monoxide and ozone, 4) tearing down old cooling towers can result in chromium and arsenic exposures from the wood preservatives, etc.
The evaluation of the hazards is an art form in itself. The decision to use traditional industrial hygiene sampling methods using pumps, sorbent tubes, filters, etc. or more complicated EPA methods, or direct reading instruments requires extensive training and experience. Some of the hazards that Converse has evaluated include:
After conducting an assessment of the workplace to recognize potential hazards Converse can prepare an industrial hygiene sampling plan to evaluate the potential hazards identified.
|Heavy Metals ||Solvents ||Particulates
|Noise ||Acids ||Irritants
|Silica ||Heat Stress || Mold
|Bacteria ||Non-Ionizing Radiation ||Repetitive Motion
Once identified and evaluated Converse can provide recommendations for the control of the hazards. The primary control method is engineering out the hazard. This can be done by ventilation, substituting less hazardous materials, shielding the area (e.g., noise reduction materials), etc. Other options for control can include improving work practices to prevent hazard accumulation and limiting employee exposure to the hazards by limiting the employee's time of exposure. The least preferred control is personal protective equipment (PPE). If PPE has to be used Converse can help the client choose the appropriate equipment, train their employees, and evaluate the PPE effectiveness. PPE that Converse has experience with include respirators, gloves, suits, hearing protectors, boots, UV/Light protective eyewear and hardhats, among other types of PPE.