24 Oct 2017

The Importance of Industrial Hygiene

As a business owner, you are responsible for the overall health and safety of the workplace and those working in it. From those working at the heart of the warehouse to the executives sitting at their desks. This safety comes from understanding the requirements of workplace hygiene and how to implement it into your workspace.

So, what are the key components of industrial hygiene and how can you ensure that your workplace is up to standard? 

Key Components of Industrial Hygiene

Of course, working to improve industrial hygiene is tied up in understanding what affects it in the first place. Aspects of hygiene in the workplace can actually include factors you would not typically consider, such as noise and even temperature. The main components are:

  • Noise

Long-term exposure to noise, intended or not, is a major cause of hearing loss in workers. However, noise issues can be addressed in several ways; including the installation of acoustic booths or acoustic louvres.

  • Temperature

Temperature both high and low can lead to problems for workers. Overheating can lead to dehydration, nausea and other symptoms of heatstroke and exhaustion. Whilst colder temperatures can lead to conditions such as frostbite or hypothermia.

Heating and cooling should be monitored carefully in the workspace, therefore, to avoid either extreme from affecting your workers.

  • Air Quality

The unseen menace of the workplace is often air quality. Indoor air quality needs to be filtered with a good ventilation system, as the poorer alternative can lead to increased sickness in employees. This is often due to a buildup of dust, bacteria and other problems caused by lack of airflow in an indoor space.

  • Chemicals  

Hazards due to chemicals in the workplace can be extremely dangerous to the health of your employees. From liquids to dust, when inhaled or ingested they can wreak havoc on your worker’s systems. Common chemicals in industrial spaces include pesticides, cleaning products and petrol.

Precautions to prevent chemical hazards include ventilation, hand washing policies and the thorough cleaning of equipment at the end of each workday.

  • Radiation

There is both harmful and harmful radiation that can occur in the industrial workplace. UV radiation and laser radiation are likely to cause burns, whilst more ionising radiation can cause more serious issues for workers (found more typically in healthcare facilities or nuclear reactors). Ionising radiation can damage a worker at the cellular level.

Exposure to radiation should be as limited as possible; or, if it does occur, workers should be shielded with appropriate safety clothes.

  • Biological

Fungi, viruses and bacteria are all biological hazards which can affect the workplace. Proper hygiene protocols (again ventilation, employee handwashing and personal protection) are important to ensuring that biological hazards do not become a problem in the workplace.

Achieving Hygiene and Controlling Hazards

Overall, all of these workplace hygiene issues can be prevented through a solid monitoring and optimise your workplace infrastructure to ensure that hygiene is a primary concern. Doing so means that you will have a healthier and more productive workplace.

For more information on how Airmatic’s ventilation and ductwork solutions can help your industrial workplace, contact us on 0161 764 4004.

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