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Our Services

Expand the accordions below to read more about what we offer.

Occupational Hygiene

Occupational hygiene is defined as the science dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, communication and control of environmental stressors in, or arising from, the workplace that may result in injury, illness, impairment, or affect the well being of workers and members of the community. These stressors are divided into the categories biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic and psychosocial.

Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 and ISO/IEC 17020:2012

  • Design, development and maintenance of health and safety systems
  • Developing and drafting of all health and safety documentation relating to the Act, i.e. policies, procedures and manuals
  • Development of SHE files
  • Reviewing of current health and safety documentation
  • Health and  safety documentation management and control
  • Re-engineering of current health and safety systems
  • Consultancy and general health and safety advice services
  • Achieving audit readiness
  • Ensuring Occupational Health and Safety Act and Relevant Regulation compliance
  • Conducting of Gap Analysis Audits
  • Conducting of Internal Audits on Health and Safety Management Systems
  • Conducting supplier/third party audits
  • Health and safety inspections
  • Emergency response procedure development

Services We Offer

Asbestos Identification

Asbestos is a fibrous form of naturally occurring silicate mineral. Asbestos can present a serious health risk to employee’s occupants and even members of the public. IOH Solutions conducts surveys in order to identify and locate asbestos

The use of asbestos has been banned in South Africa due to the high incidence of occupational disease resulting from the inhalation of fibres. Very strict procedures have been laid down in the Asbestos regulations regarding the handling of asbestos and asbestos-containing material An asbestos risk assessment needs to be performed to determine the risk associated with exposures. One an assessment has been made and risks are calculated the employer must introduce a formal measurement program to establish the airborne concentration of asbestos in a particular workplace when there is a possibility that workers could be exposed to airborne asbestos in excess of half the Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) – 0.2/2 = 0,1 regulated fibre per millilitre. Representative Samples must be taken on an annual basis.

Complaisance Requirements:

  • Occupational Health, and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993 (in accordance with the Asbestos Regulations)

Sampling Methodology:

  • MDHS 39/4: Asbestos fibres in air Sampling and evaluation by Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM)
    under the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations
  • HSG 248 Asbestos: The Analysts’ Guide for Sampling, Analysis and Clearance Procedures
  • HSG 173 (Monitoring strategies for toxic substances),NIOSH NMAM

Legal references: 

    • Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act No 85 of 1993
    • MDHS 39/4: Asbestos fibres in air Sampling and evaluation by Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) under the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations
    • HSG 248 Asbestos: The Analysts’ Guide for Sampling, Analysis and Clearance Procedures
    • HSG 173 (Monitoring strategies for toxic substances)
    • NIOSH NMAM

Asbestos Identification for Asbestos Inventory:
If any Asbestos that forms part of the structure of a workplace, building plant or premises The employer must take reasonable steps to determine the location of asbestos in the workplace, buildings, plant or premises for the purposes of managing the potential risk associated with such materials.

An inventory of the asbestos must be made, ideally with the help of health and safety representatives, or at least made available to the health and safety representatives for comment. The condition of the material and the risk associated with it must be assessed and a management plan developed. Any employee likely to be exposed must be fully informed of the risk, procedures and work practices necessary to prevent exposure

Work Plan Development and Notifications to DOL.

If you as an employer would like to remove asbestos-containing material from your premises the following procedures need to be pursued:

The regulation entitled demolition deals with work with asbestos under specialized circumstances. The legislator cannot provide for such non-routine situations and therefore the employer must provide his own procedures.

Asbestos plan of work must be submitted to an (Approved Inspection Authority) AIA for approval. The plan of work becomes an independent document and supplements specific requirements of the Asbestos Regulations. These plans of work may adopt different exposure limits, monitoring procedures, methods of control and any other aspect which the AIA decides is appropriate for the carrying out of the particular ‘demolition work’ that is approved by the AIA. The procedures contained in the plan of work approved by the AIA are legally enforceable. All plans of work need to be submitted to an AIA 30 days prior to the commencement of work. Once the AIA has signed the plan of work, a copy of the plan needs to be submitted to the provincial director 14 days prior to the commencement of work.

Only registered asbestos contractors may carry out demolition work. Only approved companies may dispose of asbestos in the correct manner.

Chemical Compatibility

Historical reactive chemical incidents demonstrate that chemical facilities could use chemically reactive materials and systems without knowing the relevant hazards posed.

 

Some operators are aware of relevant hazards, but fail to put in place adequate safeguards. Although controls for individual materials may be in place, the potential for major incidents exists if materials are inadvertently combined.

We focus on the handling of reactive materials and the prevention of reactive interactions, as well as data and safeguards needed to control these hazards. The importance of chemical compatibility and the use of chemical compatibility charts as a process safety tool are discussed.

Legislation that applies:

      • Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulation of 1995
      • SANS 10228
      • SANS 10229

Hazardous Biological Sampling

Hazardous Chemical Substances refers to any toxic, harmful, corrosive, irritant of asphyxiant substance or, a mixture of substances, that may produce adverse health effects in individuals when exposed to sufficient quantities.

 

Hazardous biological agents, as defined under the Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents, OHSAct (85 of 1993), means any micro-organism, cell culture or human endoparasite, including any which have been genetically modified, which may cause an infection, allergy or toxicity, or otherwise, create a hazard to human health.

All work areas fall at risk to expose employees to Hazardous Biological Agents, some obviously more than others!

Here are some typical industries that have an increased risk of being a source of exposure:

      • Hospitals
      • Food Processing industries
      • Food preparation areas
      • Abattoirs
      • Medical Research
      • Laboratories
      • Pharmaceutical Companies
      • Sewage treatment plants
      • Farming
      • Veterinary Hospitals and Clinics

Complaisance Requirements:

      • Occupational Health, and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993

Sampling Methodology:

      • Occupational Health, and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993 (in accordance with 6 (1) of the Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Substances, 1995)
      • NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM)
      • NIOSH Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual (OESSM)

Legal References:

      • Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act No 85 of 1993
      • Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulations
      • NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM)
      • NIOSH Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual (OESSM)
      • Most exposed occupations may include those in food production, agriculture, farming, hospitals and laboratories, the municipality (refuse and sewage workers) and office buildings from wallpapers, carpets, damp buildings and ventilation systems.

Hazardous Chemical Substances

Hazardous Chemical Substances Air Sampling Chemical air sampling is a monitoring strategy used to quantify concentrations of a particulate, vapour, gas, mist or aerosol in a particular area. This sampling strategy is used to determine possible harmful exposures that your employees may be exposed to through inhalation. Samples are taken over an 8 hour period or for as long as the exposure typically lasts for employees on a day to day basis. These measured concentrations are then compared to what we call an Occupational Exposure Limit – OELs – (governed by legislation) to determine if your employees are overexposed to the chemical substance in question. These results will verify whether a hazard (the said chemical) poses a risk for the development of occupational disease or ill health effects and assists us in recommending the best control to reduce the risk posed.

 

Area sampling can also be done to determine the effectiveness of controls that are already in place in your workplace. These samples are not compared to OELs but rather act as indicators to ambient conditions arising from the use of certain chemical substances.

The best strategy to take is to perform a baseline risk assessment for all chemicals used at your workplace before deciding whether quantitative monitoring strategies are necessary.

Legislation that applies: 
Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulation of 1995

Health Risk Assessments

A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people (a hazard), so that you can weigh up (risk calculation and rating) whether you have taken enough precautions (controls) or should do more to prevent harm. Workers and the community at large have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.

Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and affect your business if production is lost, machinery is damaged, insurance costs increase or you have to go to court. You are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace so you must put plans in place to control risks.

Note: Risk Assessments need to be reviewed at least every two years!

Some Legislation that applies:
OHS Act No. 85 of 1993 – Sections 8
Asbestos Regulation of 2002 – Section
Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulation of 1995 – Section 5
Lead Regulation of 2002 – Section 6
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulation of 2003 – Section 6
Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 (Act No.29 of 1996)

Illumination

Illumination can be defined as the use of light to achieve the desired effect. These measurements are done during the day and at night depending on your work shift.

Poorly illuminated work environments have health, safety and psychological effects on your employees and can result in injury, reduced production and increased stress levels. The Environmental Regulations for Workplaces promulgated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 stipulate that all workplaces should be illuminated in accordance with the minimum illuminance values laid out in the Schedule to these regulations.

Compliance Requirements:
Occupational Health, and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993 (in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Environmental Regulations for Workplaces)

Sampling Methodology:
SANS 10114-1: Code of Practice for Interior Lighting, Part 1: artificial lighting.

Legal References:
Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act No 85 of 1993
Environmental Regulations for Workplaces – Illumination
SANS 10114-1: Code of Practice for Interior Lighting, Part 1: artificial lighting.

Illuminance measurements need to be taken to ensure compliance with these minimum standards. The Act does not stipulate the time periods between each illumination survey but best and accepted practice indicates that these tests should be performed every two years or when changes to installations occur.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Refers to the quality of air relating to health and comfort of occupants. Poor air quality can result in serious health effects such as sick building syndrome.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term referring to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.

IAQ can be affected by microbial contaminants (mould, bacteria), gases (including carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds), particulates, or any mass or energy stressor that can induce adverse health conditions. Indoor air is becoming an increasingly more concerning health hazard than outdoor air. Using ventilation to dilute contaminants, filtration, and source control are the primary methods for improving indoor air quality in most buildings.

The determination of IAQ involves the collection of air samples, monitoring human exposure to pollutants, the collection of samples on building surfaces and computer modelling of air flow inside buildings.

Although no South African legislation and methodology exists for the monitoring of contaminants to determine indoor air quality, the following international standards are commonly used when performing these assessments:

Complaisance requirements:
Occupational Health, and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993

Sampling Methodology:
ASHRAE Standard 62 – “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
ASHRAE Standard 55 – “Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy.

Legal references:
Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act No 85 of 1993
Environmental Regulations for Workplaces – Section 2
ASHRAE Standard 62 – “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
ASHRAE Standard 55 – “Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy
ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2010 — Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2010 — Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings

Noise Monitoring

Occupational Noise Surveys in terms of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulation

Noise can be defined as annoying, physiologically or unwanted sound. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur from prolonged exposure to noise levels at or above 85 dB(A).

Complaisance requirements:
Occupational Health, and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993 (In accordance with the Noise Induced Hearing Loss Regulations)

Sampling Methodology:
SANS 10083: “The Measurement and Assessment of Occupational Noise for Hearing Conservation Purposes

Legal references:
Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act No 85 of 1993
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulation
SANS 10083: “The Measurement and Assessment of Occupational Noise for Hearing Conservation Purposes
Noise is one of the greatest risks most industries face and noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational disease for which compensation payouts are made.

According to the Noise-induced hearing loss regulations promulgated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all employers need to assess the risk of noise exposure for their employees. Once the risks are quantified and evidence exists that noise exposure may be at or exceed the noise rating limit of 85dB(A), a monitoring programme needs to be designed and area measurements need to be taken so that noise zones can be demarcated. Once these demarcations are made it is the responsibility of the employer to reduce noise liberation and exposure by implementing controls.

Personal noise sampling can also be done to determine individuals employees exposure to noise. It may be beneficial to take personal samples when you have employees moving through areas such as process controllers, cleaners and supervisory staff. These samples cannot, however, replace area noise demarcation samples and are only beneficial when done in conjunction with area samples to build exposure profiles for employees

Legislation that applies:
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulations of 2003
SANS 10083

Office Ergonomics

Ergonomics is broadly accepted as the science of fitting the man to the job by means of ensuring that tool and workstation design minimises the need for awkward body postures and the straining of muscles by lifting heavy objects. Although the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 does not directly refer to the need for ergonomic assessment except for its mention in the Construction Regulations, ergonomic assessments are beneficial in that they assist employers to implement controls that may reduce the number of onsite injuries and musculoskeletal disorders and thus reduce the number of man-hours lost.

Thermal Stress

No employee shall work in conditions that are too cold or too hot this may cause discomfort and eventually physical problems. Surveys are conducted to ensure compliance with these requirements.

According to legislation governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993, no employer shall require or permit an employee to work in an environment that is too cold or too hot according to time-weighted standards. This regulation is applicable to all industries where hot work is performed such as foundries, bakeries, underground mines, boiler rooms as well as industries where outdoor work is performed such as scrap yards, construction sites and railway service yards.

Cold work legislation is applicable to employees working outdoors during winter (especially during evenings) as well as areas where refrigeration is used. Thermal stress measurements should be taken during specific periods of the year: December – February and June – August for heat and cold stress respectively.

Compliance Requirements:
Occupational Health, and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993

Sampling Methodology:
TWA WBGT index – ISO 7243 Estimation of the Heat Stress on Working Man, based on the WBGT-index

Legal References:
Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act no 85 of 1993
Environmental Regulations for Work Places
TWA WBGT index – ISO 7243 Estimation of the Heat Stress on Working Man, based on the WBGT-index

Ventilation

Ventilation is seen as a process of replacing or changing air to improve indoor air quality and prevent stagnation of air which may result in pollutants not being able to be cleared from the air.

Complaisance requirements:
Occupational Health, and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993

Sampling Methodology:

      • SANS 10400 – National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, Act 103 of 1977
      • ASHRAE Standard 62 – “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality

Legal References:

      • Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act No 85 of 1993
      • Environmental Regulations for Workplaces – Section 5
      • ASHRAE Standard 62 – “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
      • SANS 10400 – National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, Act 103 of 1977

Vibration (WBV and HAV)

According to Human Vibration: Measurement, Analysis & Assessment, 2002 vibration is defined as oscillatory motion of a particle, body or surface from some reference position and is described by at least two quantities, one relating to the frequency, or frequency content, and the other to the amplitude of the motion.

 

Vibration can be classified as hand-arm or whole-body vibration. Hand-arm vibration refers to vibration entering the body at the hand and normally results from the use of vibrating tools such as a jackhammer. Whole body vibration occurs when the body is supported on a surface and is normally associated with the operation of heavy equipment, driving of vehicles, etc.

More serious vibration effects from severe or prolonged exposure to high energy vibration can cause bodily harm from which recovery is incomplete. The best-known effect is Raynaud’s disease or vibration-induced white finger, which during periodic attacks this causes numbness in the fingers and some loss of manual dexterity. This condition is aggravated by cold conditions.

Whole body vibration can cause both fatigue and irritation to motion sickness and tissue damage. The most frequently reported adverse health effects of whole-body vibration are lower back pain, early degeneration of the lumbar spinal system, and herniated lumbar discs.

Water Sampling

At present, two references two National Standards for the quality of potable water exist in South Africa. The first is the Water Services Act (Act 108 of 1997) in which clause 4 (in terms of section 9(1)(b) of Water Services Act), refers to a compulsory national standard. The regulations relating to compulsory national standards for the quality of potable water are described in Clause 5 of the “Regulations Relating to Compulsory National Standards and Measures to Conserve Water” was gazetted on 8 June 2001 (Government Gazette 22355, 2001). The second is the Strategic Framework for Water Services (RSA, 2003a), in which Clause 6.3.2 thereof makes reference to drinking-water quality. Both references are presented and discussed briefly below.

The standard that we use for water sampling is the SANS 0241:2005 – National Drinking Water Standard (Physical, organoleptic and chemical requirements)

Legionella Water Sampling

Legionella bacteria is commonly found in water. The bacteria multiply where temperatures are between 20-45°C and nutrients are available. The bacteria are dormant below 20°C and do not survive above 60°C. It is of utmost importance that you sample your cooling water systems at the very least, once per year to see if your current water treating is inhibiting growth. Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal type of pneumonia, contracted by inhaling airborne water droplets containing viable Legionella bacteria. Such droplets can be created, for example, by hot and cold water outlets; atomisers; wet air conditioning plant; and whirlpool or hydrotherapy baths. Anyone can develop Legionnaires’ disease, but the elderly, smokers, alcoholics and those with cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory or kidney disease are at more risk.