Industrial hygienists are scientists and engineers committed to protecting the health and safety of workers, the community, and the environment. These occupational and environmental health professionals assess workplaces, communities and homes for potential health hazards. Industrial hygienists identify hazards in these settings by testing and evaluating the environment. They then design appropriate control measures using scientific methods and the latest research in occupational and environmental health and safety. Industrial hygienists are employed in Minnesota by private industry, government, academia, labor unions, research laboratories, hospitals, hazardous waste companies, and as consultants. It is the industrial hygienist who manages compliance with federal, state and local occupational and environmental health laws and regulations.
The goal of the industrial hygienist is to ensure that workers, their families and their communities are healthy and safe. In order to meet this goal, they may perform the following tasks:
An industrial hygiene professional's unique training and experience enable him or her to provide leadership in understanding these areas:
Recognize and Evaluate potential hazards:
An industrial hygienist typically holds a bachelors degree in engineering, chemistry, physics, or biology. Many individuals obtain additional professional training in a masters degree program in industrial hygiene. This program includes both formal classroom training and internship experience in recognition, evaluation and control of occupational hazards.
One way to demonstrate proficiency in the profession of industrial hygiene is to become a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). To become certified, a professional must have a bachelors degree in an appropriate scientific discipline, five years of relevant experience, and pass a two-day written examination. Certification of industrial hygienists is administered by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). A certified professional uses the letters CIH after his or her name and is listed in a directory published by the ABIH. The ABIH also requires all certified professionals to participate in a continuing education program. This ensures the CIH remains current in the practice of industrial hygiene.
Regulatory agencies such as Federal OSHA and Minnesota OSHA have recognized the special competency of the Certified Industrial Hygienist in some of their more recent regulations.