Perspective, J Ergon Res Vol: 6 Issue: 1
The Control Hierarchy in Industrial Hygiene at Workplace
Department of Production and Systems, University of Minho, Guimaraes, Portugal
Received date: 20 February, 2023, Manuscript No. JEOR-23-95913;
Editor assigned date: 22 February, 2023, PreQC No. JEOR-23-95913 (PQ);
Reviewed date: 09 March, 2023, QC No. JEOR-23-95913;
Revised date: 16 March, 2023, Manuscript No. JEOR-23-95913 (R);
Published date: 23 March, 2023, DOI: 10.4172/ Jeor.1000125.
Citation: Gupta P (2023) The Control Hierarchy in Industrial Hygiene at Workplace. J Ergon Res 6:1.
Industrial hygiene is a critical aspect of occupational health and safety that focuses on identifying, evaluating, and controlling workplace hazards to protect workers and ensure their safety. It involves the science and practice of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling environmental factors or stresses arising from work that may cause sickness, impaired health, or discomfort among workers. Industrial hygiene plays a vital role in preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and incidents, and is crucial in creating a healthy and safe work environment for employees. The concept of industrial hygiene has its roots in the Industrial Revolution, when the emergence of large-scale industrial operations brought new health risks to workers. With the growth of manufacturing and industry, workers were exposed to various hazardous substances and environments that could lead to severe health problems. As a result, the field of industrial hygiene emerged as a way to mitigate these risks and protect workers from harm.
The primary focus of industrial hygiene is to identify and evaluate workplace hazards, which can come in many forms. These hazards may include chemical, physical, biological, ergonomic, and psychosocial factors that can affect the health and safety of workers. For example, chemical hazards may involve exposure to toxic substances, such as harmful gases, dust, or fumes, which can lead to respiratory issues, skin diseases, or even cancer. Physical hazards may include excessive noise, vibration, heat, or radiation, which can cause hearing loss, musculoskeletal disorders, heat stress, or burns.
Biological hazards may involve exposure to infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi, which can cause diseases like tuberculosis or hepatitis. Ergonomic hazards may involve poor workstations, repetitive tasks, or awkward postures that can result in musculoskeletal disorders, such as back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome. Lastly, psychosocial hazards may involve workplace stress, violence, or harassment, which can lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Once hazards are identified, industrial hygienists use various techniques to evaluate their severity and assess the risk they pose to workers. This may involve conducting workplace inspections, sampling and analyzing air, water, or other environmental samples, using monitoring equipment, and collecting data on work practices, exposure levels, and health outcomes. Industrial hygienists then interpret the data and use their expertise to determine the appropriate control measures to implement.
The hierarchy of controls is a fundamental concept in industrial hygiene that outlines a systematic approach to controlling workplace hazards. The hierarchy consists of five levels: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Elimination involves completely removing the hazard from the workplace, such as replacing a toxic substance with a safer alternative. Substitution involves replacing the hazard with a less hazardous substance or process. Engineering controls involve modifying the workplace or the equipment to reduce workers' exposure to hazards, such as installing ventilation systems or enclosing noisy machinery. Administrative controls involve implementing policies, procedures, and training to minimize workers' exposure to hazards, such as rotating work assignments or limiting exposure time. Finally, if other control measures are not feasible or insufficient, PPE, such as respirators, gloves, or goggles, may be used to protect workers from exposure to hazards.
In addition to hazard control, industrial hygiene also plays a critical role in creating awareness and promoting education among workers and employers about the importance of workplace safety. Training programs, educational materials, and information campaigns are essential tools in promoting a culture of safety in the workplace. Workers need to be educated on the hazards they may encounter in their work environment, the proper use of PPE, and the importance of following safe work practices.