Industrial Hygiene Blogs So Far
This is the seventh in a series of blogs on industrial hygiene (IH). The first one explained that industrial hygiene was the recognition, evaluation, and control of hazards in the workplace. The second blog defined a hazard as a source of danger or an agent which has the potential to cause harm to a vulnerable target. Sources of hazards were identified in manufacturing, construction, maritime, office, and other workplaces. Different types of resources were identified such as guidelines provided by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA, www.osha.gov) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH, www.cdc.gov/niosh).
The third blog focused on the recognition or identification of hazards. The fourth one walked you through an example of hazard recognition for a specific operation. The fifth blog provided an overview of the evaluation of industrial hygiene hazards. Then the sixth blog presented an overview of industrial hygiene testing as one method to complete the evaluation of potential industrial hygiene hazards. Finally, this current blog will cover the design of industrial hygiene testing.
Industrial Hygiene Testing Objective
The specific industrial hygiene testing depends on the source of the hazard and the operation. In general, the first step is to define the objective of the testing. For example, the objective may be to determine if there is an oxygen deficient atmosphere in a chemical vat during a cleanout operation. Details are needed on the operation to establish the testing approach. For the vat example, the operation may involve two maintenance employees who clean out the vat during a four hour period once a week. The vat is emptied and dried out on Friday. On Monday, the two employees are lowered down into the vat after donning personal protective equipment. They use absorbent cleaning towels and an innocuous cleaner. The next step is to determine how the objective will be met.
Industrial Hygiene Testing Details
The objective will be met by selecting the right procedure and executing it. To flesh out the details, start by answering the what, who, when, how, and where questions. What testing method will best meet the objective? Who should complete the testing? How long will the testing last? What is the time table for getting the results? When will a verbal report be provided? What will be the specific content of the written report? When will the written report be provided? If the testing confirms there is a hazard, will corrective action be recommended?
Finally, identify any special requirements of your company in having the testing performed. For example, are photographs of the testing required? What about written descriptions of the tasks which the employees perform during testing? Make no assumptions as to what will be included in the testing or report. It is better to review it up front, rather than to be disappointed in the end.
So that concludes our overview of industrial hygiene testing. In our next blog in this series, we will discuss how to select an industrial hygiene firm to do the testing. That process often includes multiple players and departments at your company.
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