The Increasing Importance of Sound Occupational Hygiene Services
Occupational hygiene, sometimes referred to as industrial hygiene, plays a crucial role in a wide field of disciplines related to the health and safety of workers and their working and surrounding environment. Broadly speaking, it involves prevention, corrective reaction and control of potentially harmful agents in the working areas, for the benefit of employees and the organisation.
In this country, it is a legal requirement that practitioners are qualified and registered with the South African Institute for Occupational Hygiene (SAIOH). This field is described as a science because all applied methodologies are strictly scientifically based, and an art, which includes identifying potential hazards in the workplace.
Potential risks and hazards must be anticipated in order to take preventative action. Existing stressors need to be identified, scientifically evaluated and communicated effectively to management and stakeholders. Control and corrective measures must then be developed according to the studies and assessments, and put in place.
Once this stage is reached, constant monitoring and management of systems ensures that the workplace complies with health and safety regulations. Health and safety risks or stressors are scientifically categorised to ensure maximum control and differentiate inspection and monitoring functions.
- Physical – ventilation and air quality, noise, temperature extremes, inadequate or too bright lighting, ionising or non-ionising radiation
- Biological – viruses, fungi, bacteria
- Chemical – hazardous or toxic substances, fumes, gases, pollutant containing dusts, vapours
- Psychological – stress and its management, working/shift/rest hours, tolerance and fatigue
- Ergonomic – lifting, carrying and operating heavy machinery manually, seating in office environments
- Environmental – waste disposal, air, water and soil pollution
As a qualified, professional occupational hygiene solution organisation, we recognise that failure to address all these potentially harmful issues contravenes legislation and the standards set out by the SAIOH. More importantly, it places workers at risk of disease, permanent physical or medical impairment or disorders – acute or chronic and injury.
On our clients’ behalf, our experts undertake and evaluate surveys, assessments and sampling of air (indoor and around hazardous chemical and biological substances), ventilation, illumination, heat/cold extremes, drinking water and potential legionella sources.
It’s widely recognised that an organisation’s biggest asset is their employees, without whom there would be no business. Should they be exposed to workplace risks, they cannot perform productively or have to take sick leave. This exposes management to possible future litigation and affects overall productivity, which impacts equally negatively on the business and all its employees, and indicates poor social responsibility.
In order address these issues and enable clients to implement corrective systems, monitor and control them, we provide a full, comprehensive range of occupational hygiene, e-management software, medical surveillance, environmental and analytical services and systems – your effective, efficient solution.
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