We offer a wide range of industrial hygiene services provided by one of our experienced industrial hygiene associates or, if needed, by a board Certified Industrial Hygienist, CIH (held by principal et al).
Our initial consultation is free and we are bound to follow the American Board of Industrial Hygiene Canons of Ethical Conduct (see ethics page).
The following Q/A may be helpful at this point:
Q. What do IH's (industrial hygienists), do and what is important to know about it?
A. People are familiar with the term "safety & health" but the "health" part is often vague. OSHA is not vague about it! They have industrial hygienists on their staff and usually 3 of the top 10 (often the top 5!), citations involve hazard communication which involves industrial hygiene exposure.
Q. Do I really need an industrial hygienist, or IH evaluation of my (or my client's workplace)?
A. Often employers are unaware of, or just neglect, their need for IH specialty services. Often this is because nobody has been trained in EH&S and/or federal occupational health requirements. A small number of claims, and the uncovered cause and/or lack of competence to identify claims in the development stage related to occupational exposure, often mask the need for an IH. Unrealizing the potential complexity and liability involved with IH-based claims can be deleterious. Industrial hygiene competence may get lumped in with a "common sense" safety approach and leave the employer with greater challenges in the end. Industrial hygiene competence takes many years and can not be practiced by a layman.
Q. I have heard IH exposures are normally below the legal limits and the burden of proof is on the employee to show there is a hazard anyway right?
A. Wrong! Risk communication requires data or calculations about the level of risk and/or the absence of risk which often can only be performed by a qualified CIH (certified industrial hygienist). Thinking contaminant levels do not exist, or are likely to be below legal limits is different than actually knowing it. Once documentation is completed, risk communication with employees moves forward with trust, clarity and confidence. Otherwise, you risk making a situation worse unnecessarily. Why not be sure early and prevent worse problems later.
Q. Why should the insurance agent, carrier or employer really be seriously concerned about IH exposures from their clients?
A. Unlike a point-in-time accident caused by a clearly evident safety hazard (such as a slip and fall from poor housekeeping objects), occupational health claims are normally caused by low undetected levels (invisible and odorless!), of exposures occurring over a long period of time (e.g., vapors, fumes, dust, etc.). Therefore, identifying the contaminant of exposure, or the cause of occupational disease, or both, may not be detected (by employer or employee), until after a policy has expired and while under another carrier's policy (but not past the statute of limitations). When this occurs, employer liability can easily become complex requiring costly resources to understand, manage and defend. Holding an insured policy while employees are exposed to federally regulated contaminants above documented healthy levels can lead to serious liability.
This becomes even more significant when considering most worker's compensation policies have a $500,000 limit for occupation disease. So even a single severe occupational claim (which disease claims tend to be) can be very costly. OSHA fines for egregious neglect of specific occupational health standards (for which there are many), can add even more to the employer's burden. Finally, when these events do occur, otherwise positive relationships between agents and carriers can sour more easily - all because a simple IH evaluation was not adequately made.
Occupational disease claims may arise much later after an employee has quit and/or retired. Without competently compiled exposure records, the risk level may be too high for comfort.
Q. But what about most small businesses, or even safety supervisors, agents and some carriers, who simply can not afford, or have the expertise to focus on IH exposures?
A. GE integrates IH into its routine safety services (loss control surveys, etc.) to minimize these normally infrequent (but potentially severe) occupational health risks. In addition, because OSHA's most frequent citation tends to be IH related (i.e., Hazard Communication Standard), this service has additional value.
When you have a trusted and ethical resource like GE, you don't have to worry about being sold a service you don't need. We evaluate, responsibly estimate, and respond to actual risk, not the perceived real risk. That's our reputation!
Call us for more information how we might integrate IH into your existing loss control survey platform, or provide IH services to you or your clients.
Whether training, program writing, compliance audits, contaminant monitoring, risk characterization or other general consulting we guarantee the highest quality and care!
Q. How can you help identify IH in my business so I can know when to call an IH?
A. Some common industrial hygiene terms, issues, programs, laws or concepts which a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) specialist should be retained to consult about, and which could be related to serious liability, (as of this writing), include:
Industrial Hygiene Program Management
Industrial Hygiene Audits
See CFR 29 1910. 1000 Table Z for a long list of airborne exposure limits employers are responsible for
ISO 9000, 14000; ANSI Z-10
Hazard Communication (* see notes below)
Employee exposure/ medical records
Sick Building Sydrome
Second Hand Smoke
Metal Exposures (Cadmium, Lead, Nickel, Chromium, Cobalt, Manganese, Mercury, Aluminum, Antimony, Thallium, Zinc, Arsenic, Beryllium, Hexavalent Chromium, et al)
Solvents (Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Halogenated Hydrocarbons)
Carcinogens & Suspected Carcinogens (*see notes below; Formalin, Cadmium, Asbestos, Arsenic, Chlormethyl Ether, Chromates, Coal Tar Distillates, Radiation, Nickel, )
Toxicology (Acute & Chronic Exposure & Effecits; Additive, Synergistic, Antagonistic & Potentiating Effects; Carcinogens; Threshold Values, NOEL, LOEL, Exposure Routes of Entry, Soluability, Defense Mechanisms, Systemic Poisons, Irritants and Asphyxiants,
Pesticides (insecticides, fungicides & rodenticides
Ethylene Oxide (ETO)
Noise Sampling, Control and Training
Hearing Conservation Program
Noise Inducted Hearing Loss
Federal Exposure Level Requirements (CFR 1910.1000 Table Z PELs / ACGIH TLVs, et al.)
General Duty Clause (1910.5a)
Personal Protective Equipment (Eye, Face, Lungs, Skin, Ear, Mouth, Head, Foot, Hand, etc. ; Level A, B, C, D; Eye Wash & Showers)
Combustible Respirable and Nuisance Dusts
Respirator Selection, Fit Testing, Protection Factors, Cartridge Selection, Training, etc.
Heat Stress (Heat Strain, Stroke, Exhaustion, & Cramps)
Heat Measurements (Wet & Dry Bulb Globe, Radiant, Convection & Conduction; Metabolic and Work Loads)
General Radiation (X-ray, Gamma, Alpha, Beta)
Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) & Extremely Low Frequency (ELFs) Exposure (near & far field)
Ultraviolet Radiation (UVA, UVB, UVC)
Infrared, Microwaves, Radio Frequency & Lasers
Hierarchy of Controls: Elimination, Engineering Controls, Administrative Controls, Personal Protective Equipment
Indoor Air Quality (Comfort, Dilution, General & Local)
Ventilation Design, Testing & Performance (Fan, Duct, Hood, & Motor Selection)
Positive & Negative Pressure Rooms
Odor Thresholds & Chemical Warning Properties
Biological Safety Cabinets (Class I, II & III)
Laboratories (Bio-Safety Levels 1-4; OSHA Required Chemical Hygiene Plans)
Ergonomics (Office & Other Workstation Design, Repetitive Motion, Cumulative Trauma, Carpal Tunnel, Productivity & Efficiency Issues, Biomechanics, Vibration, Absenteeism, Worker Rotation, Administrative Controls, et al)
Cold Stress (Raynaud's Syndrome, Hypothermia)
Biological Hazards (Acute & Chronic Infections: Bacteria, Viruses, Rickettsia, Chlamydia, Fungi; Parasitism: Protozoa, Helminths, Arthropods; Toxic & Allergic Substances: Plants & Animals; Nosocomial Hospital Infections; Viral Diseases; Viral Infections: HBV, HAV, HCV, et al ; Fungal Disease:
Aspergillosis, Histoplasmosis, et al.)
Medical Surveillance (preplacement and periodic, action level triggers, baselines, federal requirements, biological monitoring, respiratory exams, pulmonary function tests, occupational skin disease, occupational infections, biological hazards and fungal disease)
Community Right-to-Know (SARA Title III) Section 311, 312, 313, 322, Tier I, II, III, Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)
Local Emergency Response Planning Commitee (LEPC)
National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Hazardous Waste / HazWoper
Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs)
Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPGs)
Workplace Environmental Exposure Limits (WEELs)
NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs)
Contaminant Sampling & Controls (vapor, fume, gas, mist, smoke, dust, fibers)
Hazardous Trade & Task Evaluation (Blasting, Batteries, Degreasing, Dry Cleaning, Electroplating, Foundries, Paper/Pulp, Petroleum, Plastics, Pottery, Glass, Tanneries, Textiles, Welding, etc.)
Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis (Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis)
(e.g., Farmer's Lung, Mushroom Worker's Lung,, Humidifier Fever, et al.)
Metal and Polymer Fume Fever
Blood Borne Pathogens
Viral and Bacterial Infections (anthrax, newcastle disease, TB, legionnaire's disease, et al.)
Sampling Strategies (Analytical Instrumentation & Methods, Calibration, Min. Volume Ranges, Standard Deviations and Coefficiency of Variation Applications, Media, Personal or Area Sample Decisions, UCL/LCL Calculations, et al)
Upper and Lower Explosive Limit Threshold Issues
Contaminant Generation Rates
Sensitizers (TDI, MDI, et al)
Specific OSHA standards of general interest to industrial hygienists:
1903 - Inspections, Citations & Proposed Penalties
1904 - Recording and Reporting Occupational INjuries and Illnesses
1910.20 - Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records
1910.94 - Ventilation
1910.95 - Occupational Noise Exposure
1910.96 - Ionizing Radiation
1910.97 - Non-Ionizing Radiation
1910.101-110 - Hazardous Materials
1910.120 - Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HazWoper)
1910.134 - Respiratory Protection
1910.1000 - Air Contaminants
1910.1001 - Standards for Specific Air Contaminants
1910.1200 - Hazard Communication
1910. 1450 - Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories
1. 13 Carcinogens listed by OSHA include:
4-Nitrobiphenyl, Chemical Abstracts Service Register Number (CAS No.) 92933; alpha-Naphthylamine, CAS No. 134327; methyl chloromethyl ether, CAS No. 107302; 3,3'-Dichlorobenzidine (and its salts) CAS No. 91941; bis-Chloromethyl ether, CAS No. 542881; beta-Naphthylamine, CAS No. 91598; Benzidine, CAS No. 92875; 4-Aminodiphenyl, CAS No. 92671; Ethyleneimine, CAS No. 151564; beta-Propiolactone, CAS No. 57578; 2-Acetylaminofluorene, CAS No. 53963; 4-Dimethylaminoazo-benzene, CAS No. 60117; and N-Nitrosodimethylamine, CAS No. 62759.
2. There are over 100 substances either confirmed or suspected human carcinogens, or confirmed animal carcinogens with unknown relevance to humans (based on ACGIH's TLVs and BEIs publication as of this writing)
See updated ACGIH's TLV / BEI publication for details (including Documentation)
3. Twenty-nine substances which OSHA has specific comprehensive standards for include:
- See CFR 29 1910. 1001-1052