Industrial hygiene is a topic which may initially seem foreign to many individuals. Certainly the words, when spoken individually, are common place in our daily lives. Put together though, industrial hygiene is not a phrase that many in the industrial community, and even less so in the general public, would recognize. As it turns out though, the science and art represented by the phrase is already very much present in majority of the industrialized world.
So what is industrial hygiene? It is the purposeful effort to improve industrial efficiency through anticipation, recognition, evaluation, prevention and control of environmental factors that contribute to a loss in productivity from workers or negatively impact the community at large. This loss in productivity may be the result of physical discomfort, impaired health or deteriorated overall well-being.
To put it more simply, industrial hygiene attempts to recognize the industrial causes of workers’ health stressors and reduce or eliminate them.
Make no mistake, while the phrase itself may seem a bit out-of-place, the practices and knowledge that it represents have become astoundingly important within the modern industrialized workplace. Its importance can be seen throughout the world. People now dedicate their entire careers to the study and implementation of industrial hygiene practices. Each year, millions upon millions of documents and research papers are produced. All of this is done with an end goal of identifying the ideal conditions for maximizing productivity while maintaining a healthy and vibrant workforce. While the individual solutions may vary throughout all of these documents, one consistent theme runs true: education and training are at the heart of any effective industrial hygiene system.
The results are undeniable. When a company dedicates the proper educational resources and training to implement proper industrial hygiene practices, productivity goes up throughout their industrial facilities! By creating a set of standardized, across-the-company training goals for individuals at all levels of responsibility, facilities become more productive and healthier environments to work in.
Industrial hygiene may not be one of the most recognized terms in your industrial workplace but, with the proper training for your employees, it can be the most beneficial.