The profession dedicated to protecting t​he health and safety of workers and citizens since 1939


Industrial Hygienists―Who Are ​They?


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:

  • Develop techniques to control hazardous exposures in the workplace and the community
  • Conduct scientific research to determine safe exposure levels to environmental contaminants.
  • Measure workers' on-the-job exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, dusts, biological agents, radiation or noise.
  • Coordinate efforts among physicians, toxicologists, engineers, employers, community representatives, and others to achieve a safer environment.
  • Train, educate and counsel workers and the community about environmental health risks.
  • Advise government officials and participate in the development of regulations to ensure the health and safety of Minnesota workers and their communities.

Industrial Hygienists―What Can They Do For You?

 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:

    • Gases/Vapors (such as carbon monoxide)
    • Dusts (such as asbestos and lead)
    • Hazardous waste
    • Ergonomics (such as carpal tunnel syndrome)
    • Air and water pollution
    • Physical hazards (such as noise and radiation)
  • Control potential hazards:
    • Select less toxic chemicals
    • Design ventilation systems
    • Select protective equipment for workers
    • Contain, dispose of or recycle hazardous waste
    • Design equipment and the workplace to prevent injuries
    • Use pollution control devices or techniques to prevent release of contaminants
    • Design monitoring programs  

Professional Training & Education

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.​​​​​​

AIHA - Upper Midwest Section is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. AIHA-UMS, P.O. Box 13717, Roseville, MN 55113
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