Occupational (or "industrial" in the U.S.) hygiene is generally defined as the art and science dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, communication and control of environmental stressors in, or arising from, the workplace that may result in injury, illness, impairment, or affect the well being of workers and members of the community. These stressors are divided into the categories biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic and psychosocial. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) define that "occupational hygiene is about the prevention of ill-health from work, through recognizing, evaluating and controlling the risks". The International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) refers to occupational hygiene as the discipline of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating and controlling health hazards in the working environment with the objective of protecting worker health and well-being and safeguarding the community at large.
The term "occupational hygiene" (used in the UK and Commonwealth countries as well as much of Europe) is synonymous with industrial hygiene (used in the US, Latin America, and other countries that received initial technical support or training from US sources). The term "industrial hygiene" traditionally stems from industries with construction, mining or manufacturing and "occupational hygiene" refers to all types of industry such as those listed for "industrial hygiene" as well as financial and support services industries and refers to "work", "workplace" and "place of work" in general. Environmental hygiene addresses similar issues to occupational hygiene, but is likely to be about broad industry or broad issues affecting the local community, broader society, region or country.
The profession of occupational hygiene uses strict and rigorous scientific methodology and often requires professional experience in determining the potential for hazard, exposures or risk in workplace and environmental studies. This aspect of occupational hygiene is often referred to as the "art" of occupational hygiene and is used in a similar sense to the "art" of medicine. In fact "occupational hygiene" is both an aspect of preventative medicine and in particular occupational medicine, in that its goal is to prevent industrial disease, and risk management, risk assessment and industrial safety, in that it also seeks "safe" systems, procedures or methods to be applied in the workplace or to the environment.
Read more about Occupational Hygiene: The Social Role of Occupational Hygiene, Workplace Assessment Methods, General Activities, Education, Professional Societies, Occupational Hygiene Peer-reviewed Literature, Examples of Occupational Hygiene, Examples of Occupational Hygiene Careers, Standard References, International Organization For Standardization
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