Industrial Hygienists, also known as Occupational Hygienists, are scientists and engineers committed to protecting the health and safety of people in the workplace and the community.
The Industrial Hygiene profession applies the principles of personal exposure assessment to the process of risk assessment and management, whether on behalf of workers in a workplace, occupants of a residence, visitors to an office building, consumers of a product or children in a school.
The rich tradition that sets Industrial Hygiene apart from other environmental professions is the industrial hygienist's ability to assess personal exposures and, based on that, define and manage health risks.
Economic and technological advances continue to cut exposures to harmful conditions. It's becoming harder to tell whether an illness is work-related.
- Does that cruddy feeling come from exposure to welding fumes?
- Is that respiratory infection from working in a machine shop?
- Could that lung disease be from handling chemicals at work?
- Or are we sick for some other reason?
Anticipation (designing processes to reduce harmful exposure) and Evaluation (confirmation that the design was good) are increasing. Recognition (of work-related disease) and Control (of conditions causing disease) are decreasing, but still important. Industrial hygiene's remarkable heritage of bringing many disciplines and interests together in the common work of preserving people's health at work, or wherever they are, continues to bear fruit.