EHS & Quality: Five Key Challenges Facing Industrial Hygiene Professionals

July 10, 2017 Andrew Cheung

According to the American Industrial Hygiene Association, Industrial Hygiene is “a science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, prevention, and control of those environmental factors or stresses arising in or from the workplace which may cause sickness, impaired health and wellbeing, or significant discomfort among workers or among citizens of the community.”

It’s a really big and important job. On a practical level, Industrial Hygienists must be able to identify and understand potential job hazards, regulations, manage sampling plans, similar exposure groups (SEGs), equipment, and corrective actions to be effective in their critical mission.  They also need a way to qualitatively assess workplace exposures to prioritize and allocate resources.

I am often asked what specific challenges and requirements are most important to Industrial Hygiene professionals when considering a software solution. Here is my take on the top five areas where I’ve found that our prospective clients are most challenged. Take a look and see how this maps to your situation.

  1. Sampling:

Can you map out your sampling plan a year in advance? Can you link all samples conducted to that plan? Can you electronically assign sampling plans?  Do you run statistical analysis of multiple sampling results to determine confidence intervals and ensure that there is minimal potential for employee overexposure to hazardous chemicals? Do you have an effective method for keeping track of all your monitoring equipment maintenance and calibration? Can Industrial Hygiene consultants record their sampling details in your system or do they hand you paper or electronic reports?

  1. Qualitative assessment:

Do you have a way to qualitatively assess workplace exposures to prioritize and allocate resources?  Do you have programs—ideally automated—to recognize and evaluate hazards and risk in the workplace? Can you act on that data to put controls in place before those hazards and risks become a problem?

  1. Standardized data

Is your Industrial Hygiene data and work processes standardized across your organization? Can you manage and analyze exposure results from multiple hygienists at multiple sites? Can you make meaningful comparisons amongst the sites and business units and produce sound aggregate data?

  1. Preventive actions:

Can you prove that you recognized and documented a hazardous workplace exposure and tried to do something about it? In the very unfortunate event that your views and concerns are not being taken seriously, are they documented for the record?

  1. SEGs:

Do you have an efficient way to create and manage SEGs? How much confidence do you have in the way you defined the exposure groups, and how much deviation or variation is in each group? Do you have effective reporting capabilities?

 

Cority pioneered the IH software space with a focus on innovation and automation to solve these challenges. If you are an IH professional and can relate, check out our Industrial Hygiene Information Management Software, look at our Industrial Hygiene resources, or schedule a software demo with an EHSQ professional.

About the Author

Andrew Cheung

Andrew is the Product Marketing Specialist responsible for Cority’s Occupational Health, Industrial Hygiene, and Ergonomics solutions. Before joining Cority, Andrew worked in both product and marketing capacities at an ERP provider, an outbound payments company, and a software development agency. He holds a BA in Communication & Film at Simon Fraser University.

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