Industrial organizations have the responsibility for the health and safety of the workers they employ including the executives and the warehouse workers. Maintaining the safety and health of the employees will require knowledge of industrial hygiene. It is a science that includes recognition, anticipation, communication, and control of all the environmental stressors in the workplace which could result in an injury or illness to the workers. This is not something you should overlook as it can have a long-term impact on the workspace and the health of the employees.
It is important that managers across all levels can work with and manage industrial hygiene. Working directly with a safety training company will help you include and address health and safety concerns in the design and management of the business. When you incorporate these principles into the business and recognize the issues before they escalate, you can ensure optimal safety and health of the workers and manage the company’s exposure to potential liability and risk.
Components of industrial hygiene:
As a manager, you must be familiar with the components of industrial hygiene. Here are some of the components you should keep in mind when designing or managing a space. It will ensure the safety and protection of all the workers in and around the work area.
Ergonomics helps reduce injuries and stress that are caused due to bad posture, excessive pressure on muscles, and repeated tasks. Right ergonomics can help prevent lower back injuries, tendonitis, and shoulder pain. When performing an ergonomics intervention, you should involve the workers to ensure that the tasks are fit for them and they are adequately trained. You can improve ergonomics through solutions like using standing tests, limiting time on certain jobs, and reducing repetitive tasks.
Extreme temperatures can cause a lot of problems for workers. When the temperature is too high, there could be higher chances of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. It is a medical emergency that needs immediate attention. Hence, workers should be allowed to slowly adapt to heat by drinking enough water and the air should be cooled when possible. Workers should also be allowed to take breaks when the temperature is too high.
Excessive noise can lead to hearing loss for workers and this is an aspect that must be addressed. You should ensure the elimination of long-term noise exposure. Noise issues can also be addressed in different ways, including building a facility to minimize noise, using earplugs, and separating workers from noisy machinery as much as possible. You can also invest in gadgets like walkie talkie to make communication easy and seamless.
Chemical hazards can be extremely dangerous and can take various forms, from fumes to liquid and dust. There are some common chemicals that can be hazardous like cleaning products, pesticides, or gasoline. While there are some harmless chemicals, if they are inhaled in large doses, even they can have adverse effects. Hence, it is important to take precautions like ventilation, hand washing, and maintaining equipment to prevent breakdowns and leaks.
Industries have to handle two types of radiation- ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. Laser and UV radiation are the two types of non-ionizing radiation that can cause safety concerns for workers. UV radiation is a problem for outside workers and ionizing radiation can also cause considerable health risks for workers. Any exposure to ionizing radiation must be limited. The workers should be shielded from radiation using materials like concrete or lead.
Indoor air quality:
The indoor air quality is impacted by various factors including pollution from tools or machines in the building, dust from the mechanical process, highway pollution from outside the building, or gasses. Poor air quality could lead to issues ranging from headaches to nausea and chronic cough. Hence, proper ventilation is of utmost importance to ensure that fresh air enters the workspace.
Controlling the hazards:
After you have identified the hazardous conditions, you need to work towards eliminating them. It will begin with designing the hazard out of the operation and then providing local exhaust ventilation. You will also have to maintain proper work practices and provide the right equipment to the workers.
Identifying and analyzing the hazards is the first step toward maintaining industrial hygiene. You can optimize these components of industrial hygiene with the help of an expert. It will help control the health risks that could impact the workers and your organization. If you do not pay attention to these hazards, they can cause a lot of negative outcomes in the form of injury, stress, and diseases. It could also result in a decline in productivity in the organization. As a manager, it is your job to identify and understand the principles of industrial hygiene to control the factors more effectively and have a healthy and productive workspace.