Some areas that hygienists may get involved in:
Occupational and Environmental Exposure Assessments
Measuring human exposures to toxic materials such as heavy metals, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and carcinogens that may cause illness or impair health.
Hazard Evaluation and Control
Determining the real potential for ill health effects by performing such functions as testing for potentially hazardous gases and vapors, measuring noise levels, and evaluating results from such measurements and tests. Hazards are controls using personal protective equipment, engineering controls and administrative controls.
Testing for and possibly removing asbestos. This mineral fiber, which has fire-resistant capabilities and was used for insulation in buildings, is now known to cause cancer and other illnesses.
Determining if toxic materials have reached a person by searching for them in the person’s body and by evaluating the body’s byproducts, such as blood, urine and breath.
Ensuring that materials such as bacteria, viruses, and used syringes and needles are handled safely so as not to infect workers.
Establishing procedures to safely enter closed spaces not designed for human occupancy, such as storage tanks.
Helping to limit disabilities due to repetitive and/or prolonged movement, such as typing at a keyboard, working on an assembly line, or sitting at a desk all day.
Finding solutions to problems caused by unsafe levels of lead found in old paint, contaminated water, and other materials.
Helping ensure that first responders are properly protected from the hazards of their jobs, from fire and electrical shock to chemical and biological exposures, so that they can concentrate on saving lives.