Occupational Hygiene is often described as the recognition, evaluation and control of chemical, physical and biological agents arising from workplace activity. Understanding the presence of these agents within the workplace may affect the health of employees and in turn that of the business. AEC's occupational hygiene consultants can help you understand these agents and offer a range of services to help in the following areas:
Using chemicals, or other hazardous substances, at work can put the health of employees at risk; the law requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health by complying with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended).
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) applies to a wide range of substances, preparations and mixtures of substances with the potential to cause harm if inhaled, ingested or come into contact with, or are absorbed through, the skin. These may include individual chemical substances or preparations, such as paint, metals, cleaning materials, biological agents, fumes, mists or vapours etc.
Substances hazardous to health can occur in many forms: solids, liquids, vapours, gases, dusts, fibres, fumes, mist and smoke.
AEC's technical consultants can undertake a detailed Control of Substances Hazardous to Health assessment based on the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the substance, and carry out exposure monitoring to the HSE's Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) as documented in EH 40.).
Under the 'Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended)' employers have a legal duty, in the first instance, to assess the risk to health created by work involving substances hazardous to health (Regulation 6), and if required the employer shall ensure that the exposure of employees to substances hazardous to health is monitored in accordance with a suitable procedure (Regulation 10(1)). hazardous substance may occur in many forms, eg dusts, fumes, gases and vapours etc. We undertake personal and fixed point static sampling of contaminants using a variety of techniques including real-time analysis, sampling pumps and passive samplers, as well as providing laboratory analysis of collected samples.
AEC's team of occupational hygienists can help you meet these regultory requirements - we undertake airborne exposure monitoring for a wide range of hazardous substances in accordance with the latest monitoring guidelines, methods and techniques.
Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality has a major influence on the health, comfort and well-being of building occupants, with poor air quality often being linked to problems associated with Sick Building Syndrome. Symptoms include headaches, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry mucous membranes, dry skin, nasal irritation, breathing difficulties, abnormal taste sensation, distorted sense of smell, tiredness, dizziness, lack of concentration and nausea.
Whilst there are no specific regulations associated with indoor air quality, guidance on acceptable levels is available from The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the 2006 revision of the Building Regulations, which have set performance criteria for several air pollutants including VOCs, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.
AEC occupational hygiene consultants are able to assess indoor air quality within a number of work place situations.
AEC offer occupational hygiene consultants who can provide a competent and independent assessment of hand-arm vibration levels within the workplace utilising the latest monitoring equipment, and in accordance with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005). Workers exposed regularly to excessive hand-arm vibration may suffer in the long term with disturbances to finger blood flow and to the neurological and locomotor functions of the hand and arm. These complex disorders are commonly referred to as 'hand-arm vibration syndrome' (HAVS). Therefore hand arm vibration assessment should be undertaken on all vibrating tools or processes, with the aim of identifying those who are at greatest risk.
On completion of the hand-arm vibration assessment an interpretive report will be produced including observations, a summary of monitoring results, conclusions and recommendations and advice on how to reduce employees exposure being made where necessary. AEC can then work with your organisation to help produce a management plan on how best to protect your employees against the risks from HAV.
Thousands of workers contract occupational asthma and other lung diseases each year, many are permanently disabled and unable to work. These conditions develop due of the existence of too much dust, fume or other airborne contaminants, often because of inadequate control measures.
Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems are designed to remove hazardous contaminants from both the operative and working environment, naturally they are only effective when working correctly and at 14 monthly intervals, as required by Regulation 9 of the COSHH Regulations 2002 (as amended).
AEC offer occupational hygiene consultants who can provide a thorough examination and test local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems, in accordance with Health and Safety Executive Guidance Note HSG 258 'Controlling Airborne Contaminants at Work' and as required by Regulation 9 of the COSHH Regulations 2002 (as amended). All AEC occupational hygienists hold the BOHS P601 qualification.
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AEC offers occupational hygiene consultants who can provide a competent and independent assessment of noise levels within the workplace utilising a Type 1 Integrating Sound Level Meter (SLM) and personal dosimetry, in accordance with the 'Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005)'.
Assessments typically measure the 'A' weighted sound pressure levels to which employees are being exposed during their daily work routine, in order to build up a noise picture of the site and to identify the clients' legal duties as an employer under the current regulations. Where required AEC will undertake personal dosimetry, utilising the latest technology, to assist in calculating an employee's daily noise exposure.
In addition to workplace noise assessments, AEC can arrange the audiometric testing of employees, following the initial assessment.
On completion of the workplace noise assessment an interpretive report is produced including observations, a summary of monitoring results, conclusions and recommendations and advice on how to reduce employees exposure, where necessary. AEC can then work with your organisation to help produce a management plan on how best to protect your employees against the risks from excessive noise levels.