From warehouse workers to the executive offices, organizations are accountable for their employees’ entire health and safety. Industrial hygiene is the science dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, communication, and control of environmental stresses in the workplace that may cause injury, disease, impairment, or otherwise harm the wellbeing of workers and community members. Monitoring and analyzing your manufacturing company’s hygiene can help you control potential health risks that affect your workers and company. So, how can you optimize your company’s industrial hygiene? Here are a few components to consider.
Whether cold or hot, temperatures can be hazardous to employees in a manufacturing company. When temperatures are high, workers are susceptible to heatstroke or heat exhaustion. These medical issues can be detrimental to the health of workers. To prevent this, it is important to allow workers to gradually acclimate to the heat (acclimatization), and small amounts of water should be consumed often, with the air being cooled whenever possible. You can also use a shell and tube heat exchanger to promote an efficient and hygienic production process.
Hypothermia or frostbite can result from prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Workers should be allowed to wear warm clothing in cold temperatures and take breaks to cool off in warmer weather.
- Indoor air quality
Indoor air quality is affected by various elements, including pollution from machines or tools inside the building, pollution from highways outside the structure, dust from mechanical processes, and gasses. Chronic coughing, nausea, and severe headaches are all symptoms of poor air quality. Air filtration in an HVAC system can help remove contaminants from the air. Proper ventilation is important to ensure that fresh air is brought into the work area.
- Hazard elimination or control
Once hazardous situations have been recognized, a systematic process to eliminate or limit the potential hazard is followed. This begins with removing the hazard from the process or operation, providing local exhaust ventilation, creating good work practices, providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and implementing appropriate administrative procedures.
- Biological hazards
Living organisms like fungus, viruses, and bacteria can enter the body and produce acute and chronic infections. Workers who work with plants or animals and laboratory and medical workers are particularly vulnerable to biological risks. Still, mould and bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease can affect anyone. Hand cleaning, ventilation, personal protective equipment like gloves and respirators, and, in some situations, isolation of the danger can all help to reduce the risks associated with biological hazards.
- Chemical hazards
Chemical dangers can come in various forms, including liquids, vapors, and dust, and can be absorbed, inhaled, or ingested into a worker’s system. Cleaning products, gasoline, and pesticides are examples of common substances that can be hazardous. Many chemicals are safe in small concentrations, but even common chemicals can induce symptoms in those who are hypersensitive, and most chemicals can cause unpleasant consequences in large doses or when proper safety procedures are not followed. Ventilation, personal hygiene such as hand washing, limiting the number of chemicals absorbed by the skin, and equipment maintenance to prevent leaks and malfunctions are among these safeguards.