Industrial Safety Hygienist
This paper is on the role of the Industrial Safety Hygienist profession in safety and health field. The first section of this paper is on the historical background of Industrial Safety Hygienist. The second section of this paper will discuss the cause of its creation in the safety and health field. The third section will discuss the special education and training required to become an Industrial Safety Hygienist. The fourth section of this paper will discuss the certification or profession organization needed to be joined to become an Industrial Safety Hygienist. The following section will discuss the salary and other demands in the industry at present made by Industrial Safety Hygienists. The next section will discuss the major duties of Industrial Safety Hygienist. The final section will share the history of success in the field of health and safety.
Industrial Safety Hygienist
Since antiquity, there has always been an understanding of the concept of industrial hygiene. The relation between environment and worker’s health was identified as early as the 4th century BC, with Hippocrates noticing lead generated toxicity in the mining business. In the 1st century AD, a Roman scholar, Pliny the Elder perceived the health risks of those working with sulfur and zinc. He created face mask that was made of animal bladder for protecting workers from any exposure to lead fumes and dust. In the 2nd century AD, Galen, a Greek physician accurately explained the pathology with lead poisoning and recognized the exposures from acid mists to copper miners. During the middle ages, guilds used to work assisting the sick labours and their families. In the 18th century, in England, Percival Pott, after finding insidious effects from the soot on the chimney sweepers, became a major force to pass the Chimney-Sweepers Act of 1788 in the British Parliament. In 1833, the passage of English Factory Acts was the start of the first effective legislative act on the issue of industrial safety (OSHA, n.d.).
Certified industrial hygienists are also called occupational health and safety professionals. They are needed to evaluate the safety issues in the workplace and implement solutions to any possible occupational hazards. Specifically, hygienists identify specific health hazards at the workplace, such as communicable diseases, asbestos, pesticides, noise and lead. Industrial Hygienists attempt to minimize the exposures through implementing controls. Preferred method of control is eliminating of the hazardous substance that can be achieved sometimes by substituting it with less hazardous material. The Industrial Hygienists are mostly involved with the assessment and control of chemical, biological, physical or environmental hazards in the work environment or community that can cause disease or injury. Physical hazards include noise, ergonomics, illumination extremes, temperature extremes and ionizing or non-ionizing radiation (National Institute of Health. n.d.).
The minimum educational requirement for becoming an Industrial safety hygienist is a bachelor's degree. It is not necessary to have a degree in any one specific subject. There are large varieties of subjects that include courses, which can help any aspiring industrial hygienists to build their skills required for this role. Some of these majors include chemistry, biology, occupational health, engineering, physics and safety and industrial hygiene (Education Portal, 2014).
A bachelor's degree mostly qualifies one for several jobs just like an industrial hygienist, some jobs related to becoming an industrial hygienist needs a master's degree. With a master's degree one can become eligible for the leadership positions in their career in this field. A person can pursue the master's programs in a many disciplines, including environmental and occupational health sciences, industrial hygiene, occupational hygiene and public health. Coursework for graduate programs includes evaluation of essentials of public health, chemical hazards, applied biostatistics, environmental health and environmental sampling & analysis (Education Portal, 2014).
On-the-job training is required to learn several inspection techniques and applicable laws of several work environments. The training received by the individual will be environment specific in which they operate. For example, an industrial hygienist that works in a factory gets different training than someone working in the office setting. At the start of this training, an experienced professional supervises the individuals. On the basis of the type of training received by one person, supervision can last up to 12 months (Education Portal, 2014).
Most employers prefer hiring industrial hygienists with certification as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). The American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) is the organization, which offers an examination required for becoming a CIH. To become eligible for this examination, an individual should meet specific requirements. These requirements include a degree from an accredited university, completion of specific coursework in relation to industrial hygiene, professional experience in the same field and providing at least two professional references. The CIH certification has to be renewed once every five years. The certification maintenance process comprises of multiple steps with point system made by the ABIH. Points can be attained through attending authoring, conferences, teaching, mentoring, giving presentations, participating in committees and further educational courses, in addition to a general professional work. An individual can choose to retake their examination rather than achieve certification maintenance credits. Ethical practice and paying annual fees is also the additional components in the process of recertification (Education Portal, 2014).
In general, most industrial hygienists are compensated adequately. The entry-level positions for M.P.H./ M.S. graduates from the University of Michigan IH Program provide annual salaries of around $45-$55K per annum range. Graduates having previous experience or outstanding academic records can make starting salaries of above $60K per annum. Top-level managers in the corporate programs are currently earning well above $100K per year. Above the financial compensation, there are added benefits of having a career, which is interesting, intellectually challenging and focused on a noble goal to protect environmental quality and human health. The median annual wage for the Industrial Safety and health hygienists was $66,790 per year in May 2012 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).
Industrial hygiene is defined as the science and art dedicated to anticipating, identifying, evaluating, communicating and controlling the environmental stressors in the workplace that can result in illness, injury, impairment or affect the health of workers and community members. These stressors can be segregated into chemical, biological, ergonomic, physical and psychosocial categories. Industrial safety hygienists analyze several types of work procedures and work environments. They are specialists inspecting the workplaces for regulations to adherence to health, safety and the environment. They design programs for preventing injury or disease to the workers and harm to the environment.
Industrial Safety and Hygiene ensures the general safety and health of the campus with the supply of services, information and equipment for helping to identify, assess and control the potentially hazardous activities in the workplace and work environment. Practice of industrial hygiene has significantly grown all over the world. The United Kingdom leads in Europe in the number of Industrial hygienists and has a past history of professional activities and well-developed practice. Since, the practice originated in Europe, this is the reason for the large number of Industrial hygienists in Europe. As far as the numbers are concerned, the majority of the industrial hygienists that have advanced degrees have received them either in the United Kingdom, United States or Canada. In specific areas, such as ergonomic practices in Scandinavia, Europe leads with the number of industrial hygienists (EHS Today, 1998).
History of Successes
Founded in 1939, The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the non-profit organization with around 73 local sections. AIHA has presently 10,077 members that are highly educated professionals; among them 80 % are college graduates, 42 % have master's degrees, and 12 % possess doctoral degrees. These Industrial hygienists are engineers and scientists committed to protect the safety and health of people in the community and workplace. Many industrial hygienists are working for the private corporations or the state or federal government agencies as their salaried employees. However, the fastest and most popular segment of this profession is consulting or self-employment. Many industrial hygiene careers eventually lead to promotions to upper management positions. Job of Industrial hygienist is multifaceted that touches all aspects of the organization and is beneficial to the company’s bottom line with the increased productivity, lower workers’ compensation, improved morale and liability costs.
The industrial hygienist works as the adviser, giving recommendations and developing standards to maintain safety at workplace. This needs working with the firm’s employees from all job levels and requires genuine commitment of caring about the environment and people. Job diversity is the biggest benefit to consider while choosing to enter environmental health and safety profession. The job of the industrial hygienist is not limited to any one particular industry; they can be employed in a many types of organizations such as public utilities, colleges and universities, government, insurance companies, labour unions, chemical companies, research laboratories, consulting firms, hospitals, manufacturing companies and hazardous waste companies (American Industrial Hygiene Association).
Industrial hygienists monitor the environment and use analytical methods to identify the extent of hazardous exposure to employees by employing work practice controls, engineering and other techniques to control the potential health hazards. Industrial hygienists work along with the labour organizations and management personnel to resolve the health issues. They keep the company leaders aware of the regional, local and national regulations and standards to recommend the compliance alternatives. Industrial hygienist is required in many fields such as public utilities, colleges and universities, consulting firms, hospitals, manufacturing companies, hazardous waste companies and many more.
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National Institute of Health (n.d.). What is Industrial Hygiene? Retrieved May 20, 2014, from http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/sr/dohs/aboutDOHS/TAB/Pages/technical_branch_ih.aspx
Education Portal (2014). How to Become a Certified Industrial Hygienist: Career Roadmap. Retrieved May 20, 2014, from http://education-portal.com/articles/How_to_Become_a_Certified_Industrial_Hygienist_Career_Roadmap.html
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