Employers Need to Recognise the Importance of Implementing Industrial Hygiene Measures
The workplace can hold many hazards to employees’ health and safety. However, suitable industrial hygiene measures can minimise or even eliminate their risk. Accidents and illnesses are an all too common feature of life as an employee. It is easy to recognise the more apparent dangers to those who work on an oil rig or underground in a coal or gold mine. However, the average factory worker and even those who perform more sedentary tasks in an office environment are frequently exposed, albeit unwittingly, to hazards that could leave them injured or seriously ill. For centuries, workers have had to be willing to accept that such dangers were the price of their weekly wage. More recently, however, governments have introduced legislation placing the responsibility for employee health and safety firmly on the shoulders of their employers. As part of the deal, the legislation also provided skills training in detecting, evaluating and managing workplace hazards to assist them.
Trained Personnel are Available to Help Employers Meet Recommended Industrial Hygiene Standards
The training scheme initially aimed to transfer the necessary skills to employees and managers, who would then be responsible for applying them in-house. However, the training also provided a business opportunity for those who might prefer to operate on a third-party consultancy basis, serving multiple clients. For example, IOH Solutions is an accredited service provider offering a wide range of industrial hygiene services to companies in Gauteng and the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. Our team of qualified technical experts has extensive experience gained from working with many different types of companies in these areas.
The Key to Safeguarding Your Staff’s Health and Safety is the Industrial Hygiene Workplace Survey
It is recommended that these inspections are conducted annually. Their aim is threefold. The first step is to thoroughly search the workplace and identify any potential hazards to those present. Once this step is complete, the next is to determine the extent of the threat posed and which employees might be at risk. Finally, the responsibility of the technical team will be to advise management and staff on how best to manage any hazards that pose a significant threat to staff and anyone who may visit the workplace. During the examination, the industrial hygiene specialists will be on the lookout for four main classes of hazards as follows:
The 4 main Classes of Hazards
- Physical: Some are relatively obvious, consisting of things like slippery floors due to frequent leaks or spillages, missing handrails on stairways and the absence of protective guardrails on machinery. However, some are more subtle, such as high levels of ambient noise, vibration and extreme temperatures, and may necessitate the use of specialised monitoring equipment.
- Chemical: These include gasses like chlorine and ammonia, airborne particles such as fibres and sawdust, corrosive liquids and volatile organic solvents.
- Biological: Among the most common of these is Legionella bacillus, often in the water supply or aircon filters.
- Ergonomic: This involves the actions and tasks that result in undue strain and increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and accidents.
Is Your Company Fully Compliant with Industrial Hygiene Requirements?
If not, you could be plagued by lost productivity due to work-related accidents and illnesses that might lead to costly industrial compensation claims. To ensure your employees’ health and safety, why not contact IOH Solutions to book a workplace survey today?
Contact Us for Industrial Hygiene Services