Industrial Hygiene: Definition, Code of Ethics, and Importance

Definition of Industrial Hygiene

Industrial hygiene is the science of preserving and enhancing the health and safety of people at jobs in their communities. Health and safety risks include an extensive type of chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic factors. Professionals attempt to predict the possible consequences of exposure to damaging factors. The term ‘industrial hygiene’ became popular in the early 1900s by creating the Industrial Hygiene Section of the American Public Health Association.

Today, other terms essentially mean the same thing as occupational health, such as professional health, environmental health, and safety. Hazard prediction, recognition, assessment, and control have constantly been the primary purpose of industrial hygiene specialists. Their knowledge is used to predict when a dangerous situation may occur. Thus, it is possible to take remedial action immediately (“Industrial hygiene,” n.d.).

Major Industrial Hygiene Organizations in the United States

The AIHA is the worldwide association serving the needs of occupational and environmental scientists and engineers practicing industrial hygiene. Its field of activity is to ensure the hygienic needs of workers in enterprises. To this end, it creates hygiene quality standards and promotes the certification of industrial hygienists. The organization also manages occupational safety programs to increase employees’ knowledge of industrial hygiene. The significant point is that the AIHA has laboratories that provide data collection and quality for important decisions. Another organization is the American Society of Safety Professionals.

This organization examines the problems of labor protection in enterprises and gaps in education. Members of the Society apply risk-based strategies to prevent mortality, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace. The ASSP offers continuing education to occupational safety professionals, participates in the development of industry standards. The American Society of Safety Professionals is also involved in the advancement of accreditation standards for training programs and collaboration with the International Network of Health and Safety Practitioners (Larranaga et al., 2020).

The National Security Council (NSC) is an organization focused on addressing the root causes of death and injury. NSC’s core programs are traffic safety, workplace safety, and home and community safety. The activities of the organization include a large number of programs, such as conducting courses and seminars across the country can prevent possible injuries. Additionally, it conducts consultations on hazard assessment, emergency management, and risk assessment.

At the same time, the organization publishes materials on health and environmental safety. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists is a scientific organization whose members work to improve occupational health and the environment. Occupational health and safety are the only focus through a variety of services, such as assessing the logistics of the company and continuous training of employees to evade damages( Larranaga et al., 2020). Thus, all organizations aim to raise the level of education of workers and to improve labor standards.

Code of Ethics

The slide presents the main points of the code of ethics which provides the standards of ethical conduct for industrial hygienists who protect the health and well-being of working people and the public. The first rule is that scientific principles need to be observed throughout work. Professional hygienists should base their professional opinions on recognized scientific principles to preserve and protect human health and well-being.

Specialists should not change or obscure facts when providing assessments or recommendations. The next law refers to potential health risks and precautions needed to avoid adverse health effects. Industrial hygienists should obtain information on potential health risks from reliable sources and verify their authenticity. However, they are obligated to keep confidential information obtained in the course of work. The exception is the duty to disclose data by the law (“AIHA,” n.d.).

The following canon is the requirement to eliminate cases that could create a conflict of interest. At the same time, specialists are forbidden to hide the necessary information from stakeholders. Nor should they receive or offer financial assistance from a party that may influence their judgment. The essential point is that professional hygienists should provide services only in their areas of competence. That is, they can only work by the qualifications and available knowledge. Moreover, if necessary, specialists must obtain certificates and licenses before providing services. The professionals need to evade behavior that could discredit the profession or deceive the public (“AIHA,” n.d.). Representation and performance are fundamental indicators through which the public relies on the opinion of experts.

Impact of Federal Regulations

The Federal Law on Safety of Metals and Nonmetallic Mines of 1966 established procedures for developing safety and hygiene standards for mines on metals and non-metals. Standards can be recommended or mandatory. An annual inspection has been introduced for underground mines, and federal inspectors have been granted the right to issue reports of violations and removal orders. Education and training programs have also been expanded.

The Federal Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969 confirmed that four annual inspections must be carried out at underground coal mines. At the same time, if a violation is detected, fines should be imposed, and criminal liability in case of intentional violation. Notably, the law gave miners the right to demand a federal inspection. Moreover, workers suffering from lung disease should be provided with benefits (“Industrial hygiene,” n.d.). Thus, the laws ensure that working conditions meet standards and that workers receive new knowledge to save their lives.

The principal purpose of this legislation is to guarantee that employers provide their workers with a safe working environment. Labor standards such as noise levels, thermal conditions, and sanitation must be met. Significant attention is also paid to the effects of any toxic chemical and mechanical hazards. The law also stipulates that employees have the right to have a job that is free from unknown danger to them and their colleagues.

Moreover, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established on its basis, which sets and enforces occupational safety standards. The OSHA develops and establishes mandatory occupational safety and health requirements for more than six million workplaces. Development and establishment of compulsory occupational safety and health standards include determining the degree of danger and control and protection methods (“Industrial hygiene,” n.d.).

Types of Hazards Addressed by Industrial Hygienists

The main hazards are air pollution, chemical, biological, physical, and ergonomic hazards. The most common solid particles that pollute the air are dust, smoke, fog, aerosols. For example, dust is formed during metals such as rock, coal, and wood. Also, in most cases, solid particles formed by condensation react with air and form oxide. Fogs are formed when substances condense from steam back into a liquid suspension.

Examples of workplace gas pollutants are carbon monoxide, which is a common by-product of internal combustion engines. It is essential to note that chemical hazards transmitted by airborne droplets exist in the form of concentrations of mists, vapors, gases, vapors, or solids. They affect workers through breath, and some of them irritate the skin on contact. The degree of risk to workers from exposure to any provided substance depends on the nature and severity of the toxic effects and the extent and duration of exposure (“Industrial hygiene,” n.d.).

Physical hazards include excessive ionizing and non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, noise, vibration, lighting, and temperature. The danger of radiation grows with increasing human exposure time. Heat radiation poses a hazard in environments such as steel mills and other plants. Workplace noise levels become dangerous when employees are exposed to significant decibels for long periods. Biological hazards include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other living organisms that can perform grave forms and constant infections by injecting the body directly or through skin tears.

For example, laboratory and medical personnel may also be exposed to biological hazards. Any jobs that perform in contact with body fluids pose a risk to workers due to biological dangers. Ergonomic hazards connected with faulty ruling and technique of performing responsibilities in the workplace. Repeated activities such as holding, lifting, stretching, and even walking can create an ergonomic risk (“Industrial hygiene,” n.d.).

In order to avoid environmental hazards, the company needs to use ventilation. However, personal protective equipment, such as respirators and face masks, is often an effective means of resisting environmental dangers. In order to control chemical hazards, an enterprise obligation maintains a safety data sheet for each chemical. Every chemical must also have a label with information that corresponds to the chemical safety data sheet. Proper personal hygiene, particularly handwashing and the use of protective equipment, also has an important impact on the control of biological factors. Moreover, such good ventilation, waste disposal systems, and isolation protocols in the case of highly infectious diseases are also crucial (“Industrial hygiene,” n.d.).

When considering physical hazards, reflective shields and protective clothing can improve control of the risk of heat. However, businesses can reduce the opportunity of noise by installing mufflers. The vibration of heavy equipment in factories can also cause discomfort. In the workplace, companies can install shock absorbers and suspension systems in vehicles and install heavy equipment to reduce vibration. Special equipment can be used to reduce the harmful effects of ergonomic hazards.

These can be hand trucks or mechanical lifts and loaders, which absorb a significant part of the load when transporting materials. Moreover, institutions can provide training to teach workers how to forestall injury. Thus, if employees practice protective equipment and develop a thorough knowledge of safety will improve the overall situation in the workplace (“Industrial hygiene,” n.d.).

Role of Industrial Hygiene in an Injury and Illness Prevention Program

The goal of the Injury and Disease Prevention Program is to create management mechanisms to reduce the risks associated with workplace problems and diseases. In addition, the plan contains a description of what needs to be prepared to ensure safety and health. As a result, the system’s ultimate goal is to establish a method of policies and procedures to guarantee protection and health. The role of industrial hygiene is emphasized by the fact that they are designed to achieve one purpose. That is, industrial hygiene studies the reasons and possible consequences of disasters, which serves to avert emergencies. In turn, the Injury and Disease Prevention Programs are based on experiments and facts settled by industrial hygiene specialists. Thus, these are two components that are needed for the theoretical and practical security of workers (Schill, 2017).


AIHA. (n.d.). Web.

Industrial hygiene. (n.d.). Web.

Larranaga, M. D., Greeson, N. M., & Roskelley, D. C. (2020). The American Board of Industrial Hygiene: 60 years of progress. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 17(6), 253-261.

Schill, A. L. (2017). Advancing well-being through total worker health. Workplace Health & Safety, 65(4), 158-163.

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