Industrial hygiene

Industrial hygiene consists of prevention, identification and action on risks in work spaces.

Professional spaces often present multiple risks for workers and, on other occasions, affect their well-being without our realizing it.
This factor can become a problem since, as we highlighted in our Barometer on health in work environments, the well-being of workers directly conditions their performance.
Next, we review the concept of industrial hygiene, which is so closely related to risk prevention and well-being in professional settings.

What is industrial hygiene?

The INSST defines industrial hygiene as the science that anticipates, identifies, assesses and controls risks that occur in the workplace or in related environments and that can put the health and well-being of workers at risk.
In other words, industrial hygiene seeks to make the “work environment” safe and healthy.
Industrial hygiene, in addition to improving the well-being of workers and, therefore, also their performance, reduces the number of sick leave that occurs due to risks at work.
What are the stages to apply industrial hygiene?

In a very summarized way, industrial hygiene follows the process shown below:

Prevention. It contemplates the configuration of the spaces and the elements that compose them. As with hygienic design, you must evaluate how to configure the professional environment in advance, this time to prevent potential risks.
ID. The next step is to identify potential hazards in the work environment.
Action. This stage aims to tackle the detected or identified risks, verify that they are not generated again and reconfigure, if necessary, the work environment.

Possible risks related to cleaning

There are multiple potential risks in the work environment, we will focus on those that can be tackled with cleaning and disinfection.
These are exposure to chemical agents and biological agents (viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.).
In this sense, in addition to protecting staff, it is important to anticipate in order to prevent these risks, which are often invisible, but which have serious consequences for the well-being of workers.
How to protect workers from exposure to chemical and biological agents?

To protect workers against these types of risks, we often need more than Personal Protective Equipment.
In this case, continuous and quality training plays a fundamental role.
In addition to showing workers the risks they face, it is important to teach them how to act to deal with them. A possible example would be to train personnel in the correct handling and dosage of cleaning chemicals.