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What is Industrial Hygiene?

Industrial hygiene (IH) is a science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, prevention and control of workplace hazards.  These basic principles are applied to all safety programs at some level, but IH delves deeper into hazard analysis through data collection by various sampling techniques.  Simply put, IH is the scientist/engineer of your safety program.

A Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) has the highest level of credentials attainable in the field.  A CIH is trained to collect and interpret data.  To gain this credential, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field, specific course work related to IH, letters of recommendation, at least 4 years of field experience and pass a rigorous exam.  Once certified, the CIH must renew every 5 years by participating in continuing education and field work.  Earning a CIH stamp is a big undertaking, but is an important step in advancing as an IH professional.

Engaging with a CIH to evaluate the workplace stressors present makes sense.  Many OSHA regulations require workplace determinations of exposure as part of the standards.  A CIH can design and implement a sampling plan that will document the effectiveness of your program elements, or identify gaps and make recommendations to fill them.  Much like having a Professional Engineer (PE) stamp a set of design plans, having a CIH stamp on your safety program elements lends credence to the work completed and shows as strong commitment to your safety program.

For questions about industrial hygiene or information on how input from a Certified Industrial Hygienist can benefit your safety program please email [email protected].

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