Healthy Workplaces

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

Healthy Workplaces

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 to help understand the cause of a patient's illness or injury, and to prevent them from occurring in co-workers.

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
  • provide trainings on workplace hazards and how to reduce them

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

  1. Keep your eyes and ears open. Are any of your coworkers having 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.
  3. Provide details about your workplace and its hazards. Obtain MSDS (material safety data sheets) for chemicals you work with. When possible, take pictures of your work environment.