Engaging the Services of an Occupational Hygienist
Protecting the health of people at work is a responsible vocation. Misinformation, omissions and errors can have serious consequences. Occupational hygiene is a specialised discipline, and the AIOH has rigorous requirements for using the name, “occupational hygienist”. Unfortunately, the term “occupational hygienist” is not protected under Australian law and this has led to a number of persons claiming to be professionals, even though they do not have the required level of training, education or experience.
It is the AIOH’s position that persons are able to identify themselves as an occupational hygienist once they have been granted one of the professional membership grades within the AIOH; namely a Provisional, Full or Fellow members. The AIOH has a structured and rigorous process to determine the eligibility of occupational hygienists to enter the professional membership grades. The AIOH recommends that those seeking occupational hygiene services check that the potential service provider meets these requirements which include:
- Holding a degree or a postgraduate qualification recognised by the AIOH;
- Working in the field of occupational hygiene or one of its specialist branches for at least fifty per cent (50%) of a person’s recent work experience;
- Having a minimum of 1 years professional occupational hygiene experience (in the case of Provisional Membership); and
- Demonstrated competence in occupational hygiene (AIOH determines this through reports, references and/or an interview).
If you are employing the services of a competent and experienced professional occupational hygienist, the AIOH recommends that they should be a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH), or a Full or Fellow Member of the AIOH; and would therefore meet the following conditions:
- have a first degree or diploma in Science or Engineering with a major in a quantitative science acceptable to the AIOH Council, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the Council;
- have completed an AIOH accredited course of study (COH only);
- be working in the field of occupational hygiene or one of its specialist branches (at the time application for membership is made);
- have worked for more than five years in a professional capacity in the field of occupational hygiene or one of its specialist branches; and
- have demonstrated to the Council that they possess a satisfactory level of professional competence.
If you are seeking a professional occupational hygienist to investigate and solve a specific problem for example: the design and implementation of specialised contaminant control strategies; then you should seek an AIOH member who is a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH), and importantly who has the relevant level of expertise and competence in the specific area of your need.
All members of the AIOH are required to conduct themselves according to the AIOH Code of Ethics and to uphold the dignity and reputation of the profession of occupational hygiene. Members are required to exercise professional skill and judgement to the best of their ability and discharge their responsibilities with integrity. Further information is provided here.