Health, Safety, Security and Environment

E-Books:Occupational Hygiene and Risk Management

5 min read

As awareness of the importance of minimising occupational health and safety risk continues to grow amongst Australian employers, so too does the science of occupational hygiene. Occupational hygiene hazards such as dusts, noise, chemicals, vibration, radiation, ergonomics, light, pressure and biological agents require an especially diligent approach to ensure they are not only identified, but the level of risk assessed and appropriate controls put in place for the long-term health of workers.Unfortunately, history shows situations where occupational hygiene risks have not been well managed: for instance, exposure to crocidolite (blue) asbestos during mining operations in Western Australia resulting in death from mesothelioma, a highly aggressive cancer of the lung pleura, is not expected to peak for another two decades. What about the effects of stonemasons’ exposure to crystalline silica, excessive noise at concerts, vibration in heavy vehicles or exposure to mercury from broken thermometers in hospitals or formaldehyde in newly refurbished office buildings? This chapter will define the term occupational
hygiene, the principles of risk management and the difference between hazard and risk. It will also provide an introduction to toxicology, the concept of dose, exposure and epidemiology. Occupational exposure standards and biological exposure indices will be explained and their uses shown with some practical examples.


For a long time, we have known that work can affect our health. In 1775 Percivall Pott, a surgeon at St Bartholemew’s Hospital, described the occurrence of scrotal cancer in chimney sweeps. It was only later that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were identified as the cause. Manufacturing of matches with phosphorous was linked to necrosis of the jaw, felting of animal fur with organic mercury caused neurological changes, use of vinyl chloride monomer in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) caused liver cancer, and benzene from the petroleum refining industry was linked with leukaemia. Studies into the effects of electromagnetic radiation from wireless technologies such as mobile telephones continue to draw mixed conclusions. Occupational hygiene is aimed at reducing the probability that workers’ health will be affected by work. The term ‘health’ is very broad. It not only considers physical health but also our psychological and emotional wellbeing. For instance, exposure to nickel may cause dermatitis of the skin, which by itself is not life threatening. However, a noticeable rash may lead to a sense of isolation from the community and cause psychological scarring as the worker attempts to escape ridicule or misunderstanding about their condition. Occupational hygiene can be thought of as the identification, evaluation and control of agents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Fundamentals of occupational hygiene and risk management 1

Occupational hygiene 1
Risk management 2
Risk perception 3
States of matter 4
Toxicology 8
Routes of entry 9
Distribution, metabolism and excretion 10
Dose 11
Carcinogenicity 13
Chronic versus acute exposure 15
National exposure standards 16
Sampling and measurement 18
Types of national exposure standards 18
Units of measurement 20
Biological exposure indices 24
Epidemiology 25
Risk factors 27
Summary 28
Bibliography and further reading 29

Chapter 2 Working out the human body 31

Our bodily systems 31
Cardiovascular system 33
Digestive system 34
Endocrine system 36
Immune system 37

Integumentary system 39
Lymphatic system 41
Muscular system 42
Nervous system 44
Reproductive system 46
Respiratory system 49
Skeletal system 51
Urinary system 52
Anatomical positions 54
Summary 56
Bibliography and further reading 56

Chapter 3 Hazard identification 57

Inspections 57
Occupational hygiene auditing 60
Using information or specialist advice 62
Reviewing records — material safety data sheets 63
Reviewing records — labelling 65
Summary 65
Bibliography and further reading 65

Chapter 4 Dusts and particulate 67

Dust exposure in industry — a historical review 67
Definitions 68
Dusts 68
Size distributions of dusts 71
Respirable dust monitoring 75
Inspirable dust monitoring 79
Total dust monitoring 80
Particle size and dust characterisation monitoring 80
Direct-reading monitoring equipment 81
Dusts of occupational hygiene significance 81
Fibres 88
Summary 97
Bibliography and further reading 97

Chapter 5 Metals 99

The toxicity of metals 99
Nature of contaminant and routes of entry 100
Specific metals and their risks 101
Summary 119
Bibliography and further reading 119

Chapter 6 Chemical contaminants 121

The nature of gases and vapours 121
Physiological effects of exposure to gases 125
Simple asphyxiants 125
Determining oxygen displacement from simple asphyxiants 130
Chemical asphyxiants 130
Irritant gases 135
Solvents 140
Other chemical contaminants of occupational hygiene significance 145
Confined spaces 148
Occupational hygiene monitoring techniques 149
Direct monitoring 150
Sample collection and analysis 154
Biological monitoring 158
Summary 159
Bibliography and further reading 159

Chapter 7 Noise and vibration 161

The physics of sound 162
Characteristics of soundwaves 163
Characteristics of sound 164
Emission and immission 165
The logarithmic response to sound 165
How the ear hears 166
Effects of exposure to noise 168
Sound pressure levels, weightings and noise dose 170
Measuring noise 174
Conducting a noise survey 178

Occupational noise management 180
Controlling noise transmission 185
Audiometric testing 188
Hearing protection devices 190
Selecting hearing protection devices 191
Vibration 194
Health effects of exposure to vibration 195
Measuring vibration 195
Controlling vibration exposure 198
Summary 200
Bibliography and further reading 200

Chapter 8 Heat and cold 203

Thermoregulation: Maintaining the body’s equilibrium 203
The effects of exposure to excessive heat 204
Physiological monitoring of exposure to heat 206
The effect of metabolic work rate 208
Environmental monitoring of exposure to heat 208
Heat stress indices 212
Controls for heat 218
Exposure to cold and moderately cold environments 220
Summary 222
Bibliography and further reading 222

Chapter 9 Radiation and pressure 225

Ionising radiation 225
Instrumentation 230
Non-ionising radiation 232
Controls for radiation 239
Pressure 239
Summary 240
Bibliography and further reading 240

Chapter 10 Biological hazards 243

Human and microbial interaction 243
Categories of biological agents 246
Bacterial zoonoses 248
Chlamydioses and rickettsioses 250
Viruses 251
Parasitic disease 251
Fungi 252
Humans as reservoirs 252
Indoor air quality 254
Organic dusts 258
High-risk industries 259
Monitoring techniques and counting 259
Controls for biological hazards 262
Summary 266
Bibliography and further reading 266

Chapter 11 Ergonomics 267

Some definitions of ergonomics 267
Muscular work 268
Biomechanics 270
Manual materials handling 272
Anthropometry 274
Stress 276
Shift work and working hours 277
Lighting 278
Summary 283
Bibliography and further reading 283

Chapter 12 Risk analysis 285

Risk and hazard 285
Danger and safety 286
Definition of risk analysis 286
Conducting a risk assessment 292
Risk perception 292

Bias and risk perception 293
Risk communication 294
Summary 295
Bibliography and further reading 295

Chapter 13 Control 297

The aims of control 297
Taking a methodical approach to control 298
Methods of control 299
Hierarchy of control 300
Ventilation 305
Dilution ventilation 305
Local exhaust ventilation 311
Personal protective equipment 318
Summary 326
Bibliography and further reading 326

Chapter 14 Using a systematic approach to risk management 329

Managing and management 329
Theories of management 329
Reasons for managing occupational hygiene risks 330
Managing and motivating people 333
Management systems 335
Summary 339
Bibliography and further reading 340

Index 341


1 thought on “E-Books:Occupational Hygiene and Risk Management

Leave a Reply