What does an Occupational Hygienist do?

Occupational hygienists work across a wide range of industries, such as mining, manufacturing, construction, health services, government, defence and academia. Although the industries where they work and the hazards they encounter may vary, the passion and common mission of occupational hygienists is to safeguard the health of Australian workers. Occupational hygienists specialise in the assessment, management and control of:

  • Chemical hazards including dusts such as silica, carcinogens such as arsenic, toxins such as lead, fibrous dusts such as asbestos, lethal gases such as chlorine, irritants such as ammonia and neurotoxic organic vapours such as petroleum based hydrocarbons and a range of many other diverse and noxious chemical agents;
  • Physical hazards such as heat and cold, noise, hand and whole body vibration, ionising radiation, lasers, microwave radiation, radiofrequency radiation, ultra‐violet light, visible light; and
  • Biological hazards such as bacteria, endotoxins, fungi, viruses, and zoonoses etc that have various biological effects on workers such as irritation, sensitisation and infection leading to specific occupational and translated diseases.

Check out the passion that occupational hygienists show as they go about their daily activities of monitoring and controlling exposures. Ace Day Jobs followed Perdita Dickson around for a day so you can see what it is like to be an occupational hygienist (media courtesy of the ABC).

Just feel the enthusiasm that occupational hygienists can bring to your workplace by viewing what AIOH members said when they created short videos to help explain occupational hygiene.

The AIOH ran a competition, aptly named, “The CANARY” for Communicating Awareness - a New Approach Representing us on YouTube which showcased our member’s passion for our profession.

Alex Wilson won The 2014 CANARY for this entry. You can view all the other fantastic CANARY entries here and gain an insight into what it is like to be an occupational hygienist. By seeking the services of professional AIOH members, you gain the advantages of having occupational hygiene practices applied within your place of business to deliver a healthy working environment.