Industrial Hygiene

Alice Hamilton: Alice Hamilton, known as the Mother of Industrial Hygiene. Born in 1869, she studied the most dangerous trades in the U.S. Alice Hamilton: Alice Hamilton, known as the Mother of Industrial Hygiene. Born in 1869, she studied the most dangerous trades in the U.S. The Role of Industrial Hygiene

Work place injuries and illnesses are caused by conditions and materials used in the work environment.  Work-related health problems are preventable by changing how work takes place and how materials are used in the work environment. 

The purpose of industrial hygiene within the context of our clinic is to identify and reduce hazardous work conditions. 

The OHCC-based industrial hygienist has the advantage of working with a team of health care providers first to prevent occupational illness and injury, or to diagnose and treat work-related health problems when they occur.

Because new materials are manufactured and workplace conditions are constantly changing, industrial hygienist needs strong research skills to keep up with any possibly adverse health effects as information about them is known. It is a field that is constantly evolving.

What Do Industrial Hygienists Do?

  • review exposure documents that pertain to the patient’s work place
  • meet with the patient to gather exposure information
  • conduct work site visits to determine the potential toxic or hazardous effects of any substances or physical agents in the workplace
  • observe typical work operations to evaluate effects on the human body
  • engage in scientific "detective work" on the workplace environment, whether one person or several persons have symptoms that appear to be related to their work environment
  • assists employees and employers in finding solutions to health and safety problems so that everyone can be healthy and productive

How Can Patients Work in Partnership with Our Clinic's Industrial Hygienist?

  1. Keep your eyes and ears open.  Are any of your coworkers suffering the same symptoms?
  2. Know the materials you are working with, especially if a particular material creates an immediate effect, such as a skin rash, or breathing problems. Also, be aware that some materials, such as asbestos or lead, may take a long time to produce very serious health effects.