Industrial Hygiene Vs Occupational Hygiene
Updated: Mar 3
So, what's the difference between the two?
Well, the short answer is, nothing! Both terms relate to the same science that is aimed at preventing work-related ill-health. The roots of science can be traced back to the industrial revolution in the late 1700s. Even further back in history, occupational-related diseases were recognised by Hypocrite's in circa 400 BC and around 1540 Paracelsus (Swiss Physician) described lung diseases in mine workers.
So, it's been around a long time but neither term in the UK is widely known in industry. When businesses are looking for an occupational hygienist they will often use an internet search engine to look for what issue they face or what service they require such as 'noise survey' or 'dust monitoring', as they are not familiar with the science. Both names, Industrial and Occupational Hygiene do not conjure up what the discipline is about, and in this lies the problem.
Health and safety is a term that all businesses are familiar with but there is more knowledge around the safety element and therefore more action to address the safety issues is undertaken. Some health hazards are well recognised such as noise and exposure to certain chemicals but others to a lesser extent or not at all. One of the main issues is that the Occupational Hygiene profession and its role within the industry is not widely recognised by many businesses and as a result, the advice given by others and the action taken is not always appropriate. At worst, this can result in employee's health being put at risk and can be costly to the businesses in a number of ways.
The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) has made great strides in promoting occupational hygiene over the years to both business owners and those seeking a career as an occupational hygienist. There is still some way to go in this area and work continues on the promotion and awareness front. The Health and Safety Executive also promotes occupational hygiene and employs a number of hygienists that visit businesses across the UK to check that health hazards are being appropriately controlled in line with current legislation.
Business owners have a number of responsibilities set out in law when it comes to the health and safety of their employees. The health hazards that employees are exposed to must at first be identified/recognised and then appropriately controlled to a level where employee health is not at risk.
At Blue Turtle Ltd we are experts in recognising workplace health hazards and evaluating the magnitude of exposure allowing for tailored advice on how to control health risks. Our main aim in supporting clients is to protect employee health, ensuring that their business remains productive and competitive as well as helping maintain compliance with relevant regulations and guidance.
We offer a number of occupational hygiene services:
Personal Exposure Monitoring (COSHH Regulations)
Workplace Noise Monitoring (Noise at Work Regulations)
LEV Examination and Testing (COSHH Regulations)
Vibration Monitoring Services (Vibration at Work Regulations)
Health Risk Assessments (The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations)
Good occupational hygiene practices benefit both the workers and businesses from:
Improved worker health and increased life expectancy
Reduction in the number of people who leave employment early through injury or illness
Lower social and health care costs as well as maximising worker potential and wellbeing
More efficient working processes with technological improvements and increased productivity
If you would like to know more on how you can protect your workers' health and maintain compliance with current legislation then please contact us on: