Getting Started with Industrial Hygiene

The IOSH Caribbean Branch hosted its final branch meeting for the 2018/2019 period on Friday, 26th April 2019 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The event was well attended with almost 40 members and non-members in attendance. Also present was Mr Andreas Wagner, CIH, ROH from Golder Associates Inc. Mr Wagner was in Trinidad conducting training in Industrial Hygiene.

The branch meeting was formally called to order by the Chair, Mr. Jason Maitland as he welcomed the attendees and kicked off the evening with a safety moment on the topic of Work at Height. This is an activity that is required in numerous industries and Mr. Maitland stressed on the importance of ensuring adequate prevention and mitigation strategies to ensure that all workers go home safely.

The evening’s speaker was Mrs Chantal Lalla-Maharaj, an industrial Hygienist with over 15 years of experience at bpTT. Mrs Lalla-Maharaj indicated Industrial Hygiene covers numerous topics such as psychological health and well-being, indoor air quality and emergency response.  Practitioners in Industrial Hygiene need to anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control. Additionally, they also need to have a proper understanding of operations since sensitizing agents and carcinogenic chemicals can have short term or long term effects.

View the Getting Started with Industrial Hygiene presentation.

The roles of Industrial Hygienists include hazard identification, risk assessment, monitoring, exposure assessment, development of health plans, investigation and contractor management, training and coaching, preparing lessons learned reports and maintaining records.

Mrs Maharaj then showed a video on why Industrial Hygiene is the right thing to do by American Industrial Hygiene Association focusing on the reason to protect ourselves and each other. Additionally, proper monitoring of Industrial Hygiene has been shown to better worker health with increased productivity. A study has shown that global gross domestic product decreased by 4% due to industrial ill health.

Mrs Maharaj spoke on the different avenues that one could take to become an Industrial Hygienist. British Occupational Hygiene Society requires an accredited degree, an oral exam and portfolio for a certificate level membership, and diploma level membership requires Certificate membership, a portfolio and an exam. The American Board of Industrial Hygienists requires an accredited degree, Industrial Hygiene courses inclusive of ethics, four years of relevant experience and a recommendation from a board member. All resources are easily accessible online and are free to access. In addition she noted there are differences in the way various countries manage and control Industrial Hygiene. In the US there is a tendency to preform constant evaluation and testing to prove compliance with government standards, whereas in the UK a more control based approach is taken, where testing to used to determine the effectiveness of industrial methods.

To wrap up the evening’s presentation, Mrs Maharaj cited numerous free online resources that anyone can use to access various international standards and best practices to apply to various workplaces. These include the following:

  • Getting started toolkit
  • Hazard Identifier website
  • Exposure Assessment database
  • Risk Assessment and Prioritization toolkit
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health website
  • Heat stress test (Australia)
  • Hand Arm Vibration calculator
  • Manual Handling Assessment

At the end of the meeting the vote of thanks was given by former Caribbean Branch Chair and outgoing Executive Member Curt Cadet. Mr Maitland took the opportunity to thank Mr Cadet for his numerous years of service to the Caribbean Branch’s Executive Committee. At the end of the meeting, members were invited to networking time with their peers, connecting with fellow professionals in the field.