In any workplace, the goal should always be to limit and eliminate any environmental and health hazards in order to protect employees from injury or illness and the company from lawsuits and high insurance rates. The standards for controlling and limiting these hazards have been extensively developed by the Clean Air Act, Best Available Control Technology (BACT), the New Source Review (NSR), State Implementation Plan (SIP), Title V, and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD).
As Industrial Hygienists, we are trained to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and recommend controls for mitigating environmental and physical hazards from your work-site and protecting the health and well-being of your workers and community. We assist you by extensive on-site assessments to evaluate the major industrial hygiene risks that include air contaminants and chemical, biological, physical, and ergonomic hazards.
Industrial Noise Assessment
Through this type of inspection, we will examine your current noise levels to ensure that those working within reach have appropriate sound protection, noise levels don’t rise above OSHA standards, and that noise levels do not exceed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ordinances within the surrounding community.
Personal Noise Monitoring
The standards developed by OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) and Action Level (AL) for employee noise tolerance is based on an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA). The OSHA AL is 85 dBA and PEL is 90 dBA.
Alongside Noise Assessment is the monitoring of employee interaction with loud noises throughout a full shift (typically 8 hours). By monitoring the constant noise levels, we can determine if employees are exposed to noise limits that exceed OSHA permissible exposure limits that would then require enrollment in a Hearing Conservation Program (HCP), use of more effective hearing protections devices (HPDs), and/or implementing various controls to limit the amount of noise exposure in the workplace.
Respiratory Fit Testing
When working with any amount of hazardous chemical, the use of respirators is a must. In order to use this type of safety equipment, thorough safety regulations must to be met. These regulations include extensive tests of the equipment and those using them.
This includes: an examination by a medical professional, at least two types of respirators for employees to choose from, ensuring the chosen mask fits tightly and comfortably, testing the masks’ effectiveness against exposure while being worn, and the ability of the worker to perform a designated exercise regiment while wearing the respirator.
Air Quality Sampling
The quality of indoors air is especially key for any workplace environment. The World Health Organization estimates as much as 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide could be considered “problem buildings” – making productivity greatly impaired by poor air quality.
There are numerous ways in which a building can be affected by poor air: volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, particulate matter, mold and moisture intrusion, and poor ventilation to name a few. These problems, if not identified quickly, will ultimately lead business owners, property owners, occupants, and workers into the inside of a courtroom. Don’t let your business be a needless casualty of poor air quality.