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Industrial Hygiene Surveys, Program Development, OSHA Compliance and Health Risk Assessments

If you need Industrial Hygiene Surveys, Program Development, OSHA Compliance and Temporary Staffing assistance as discussed in this information page call us at 973-366-4660 or email us at info@atlenv.com for details and a free estimate.

Industrial Hygiene Surveys/Occupational Health

man cutting metal

Our staff of Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH), Industrial Hygienists and Industrial Hygiene Technicians can perform any conceivable industrial hygiene survey (IH survey). They include:

Baseline Industrial Hygiene Surveys
A baseline survey is an initial walk-through to understand the processes, materials, work environment and physical layout and job tasking where exposure to chemicals or other agents are involved. The intent is to identify possible risks to worker health and the need for further evaluating and testing to determine if there is a risk of overexposure and OSHA regulatory compliance issues. Risks can include chemicals, minerals, pharmaceuticals, physical hazards (noise, heat, radiation) training, ergonomics and organizational/program deficiencies.

Health Risk Assessment
A health Risk Assessment is somewhat different than a Baseline Industrial Hygiene Survey. A risk assessment focuses on activities that may pose a potential for an illness or injury to employees, visitors, or anyone who may access the premises that are being assessed. The emphasis is focused on reducing the risk of injury/illness by 1) Eliminating the risk altogether, 2) Substituting a less hazardous substance or condition, 3) Isolating the equipment or process from the person, 4) Isolating the person from the hazardous substance or condition 5) If none of the above are possible – providing worker protection such as respirators, clothes, etc. For example: A hand soldering operating using lead solder. The best approach is to eliminate the lead solder—possibly substituting a silver solder. An alternative approach would be to use an automatic solder or a wave solder machine where the employee does not have to be directed at the solder point and ventilation can also be used. A local exhaust ventilation system may be installed at the soldering station as a third alternative. Notice I have not mentioned personal protection as a risk assessment alternative. Special Note: personal protection does not assure a reduction of the risk of an illness/injury because of the many variables that enter into the process—fit testing, selection, training, cleaning, inspection, storage, range of movement, etc. In some cases, industrial hygiene sampling may be appropriate depending on what is currently in place but this is generally outside the scope of a Health Risk Assessment.

Monitoring Surveys
During a monitoring survey, testing and sampling are performed by an Industrial Hygienist to determine actual exposure to the agents in the work environment. Results can identify health risks and the need to make changes to the materials, work practices, or personal protection. Some of the more prominent concerns especially those regulated by OSHA (See 29CFR1910.1000 Table Z-1, Z-2, Z-3) and specifically regulated materials (ex. asbestos 29CFR1910.1001 & 29CFR1926.1101)at present include: hexavalent chromium (hex chrome, Chrome 6) resulting from exposure to welding fumes on stainless steel; crystalline silica, cristobalite, tridymite from exposure to sand and gravel, pharmaceuticals during formulation, packaging, exposure trials and animal trials, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil & gas drilling or concrete construction projects; isocyanate exposure from paints and plastics; lead and other heavy metal exposure from welding and soldering; anesthetic gases (nitrous oxide, halothane, enflurane) in hospital operating rooms; formaldehyde in furniture finishes, adhesives and even hair care products. We have performed Industrial Hygiene surveys in steel mills foundries, refineries, chemical plants, warehouses, pharmaceutical companies, meat processors, construction, hospitals, assembly plants, vehicle assembly, utilities, laboratories, recyclers, aerospace, packaging, woodworking and many more over our 36 years in business. All IH surveys are either performed by a CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist) or by an experienced Industrial Hygienist under the direct supervision of a CIH. All reports are reviewed and signed off by a CIH.

Noise Surveys
Noise surveys include both a “noise map” and noise dosimeter survey to satisfy the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.95 requirement. The noise map uses a floor plan to identify noisy areas and equipment. Noise dosimeters are worn by the worker who may be exposed to levels at or above the 85 dBA hearing conservation level or at or above the 90 dBA regulatory limit for noise reduction and mandatory hearing protection. Noise dosimeters are now so small, they can be clipped to the worker’s collar. If action is required, we will assist in determining the appropriate action to protect workers and/or reduce the noise.

Exposure Control Surveys
When a workplace hazard has been identified, additional evaluation is often needed to develop specific corrective measures such as material substitution, work practice changes, ventilation, process re-design, training, or personal protection. On occasion, we have performed IH surveys as a follow up to OSHA surveys or OSHA citations – and even sampling/testing side-by-side during OSHA inspections. We have agreed to perform additional monitoring to address OSHA citation situations where worker overexposures have been identified and exposure reduction measures are required. Of course, we can also assist in OSHA citation negotiations related to penalties and corrective measures. We can also measure airflow, air volume, and air changes per hour to evaluate the ventilation system.

An ergonomics consultation is an assessment of the workplace with the ultimate goals of keeping workers healthy and productive by lowering the potential for musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Our field surveys examine individual workstations whether industrial or office to asses repetitive motion or rotational movements that are more rapid or physically intense to possibly result in MSD with reduced worker productivity or excessive absences. We can evaluate your worker’s compensation date for evidence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, repetitive motion injuries and the need for training, education, workplace modification, new equipment, or alternative task performance. We will ensure that all workstations are OSHA and ADA compliant.

Staffing Service
Atlantic Environmental has fully trained field industrial hygienists that can be assigned to your organization to perform specific technical services such as personnel monitoring, IH project supervisor, emergency site monitoring, for short or long term assignment to fill a specific industrial hygienist, indoor air quality, environmental clean-up, construction or demolition project requiring on-site IH personal. These staffing services can include the necessary monitoring equipment as well.


Special Surveys

Welding Fumes Testing/Sampling. Welding fume can harm the health of employees, causing both short term (acute) effects and long term (chronic) effects. Workers can be affected even if employers comply with the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PELs) for exposure, as OSHA’s final standards do not always keep up with current science. Acute effects of exposure to welding fume include Metal Fume Fever. Symptoms are like the flu and usually last 24 hours. Zinc, the coating used in galvanized metal, is often associated with Metal Fume Fever. Chronic effects can be severe and may include cancers and permanent disability. Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Beryllium (Be), Mercury (Hg), fluorides from fluxes, Iron (Fe), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu), Aluminum (Al), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) are the most likely offenders. Also, hexavalent chromium found in stainless steel is now specifically regulated by OSHA as cancer-causing substance (general industry 29 CFR 1910.1026 and construction 29 CFR 1926.1126). We can test/sample for individual exposure levels and design or recommend appropriate controls based on the situation.

Wood Dust Testing/Sampling. Many types of wood are treated with a variety of chemicals, some very toxic, such as formaldehyde and arsenic. Also, woods can carry microorganisms such as mold to which many people are allergic. Some people simply have allergic reactions to certain varieties of wood. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) considers dust from hardwoods and softwoods as carcinogenic and recommends a limit of 1mg/M3. This is based on data that shows wood dust exposure has been linked to nasal and sinus cavity cancer, lung cancers and Hodgkin’s disease.

Nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic or subatomic scale. It was previously thought that microscopic particles could be inhaled and exhaled without damage to the lungs. Recent information suggests that this is not true. Due to the phenomenon called Brownian Motion, we know that inhaled nanoparticles are buffeted by atoms that push them onto lung surfaces where they stay. We can use nanotechnology to study the effects of extremely small amounts of chemicals and particles on cells, molecules, and individual genes. We can determine if tiny particles are causing a negative impact on health.

Hospital Air Quality. OSHA has established guidelines for the protection of operating room personnel and NIOSH offers recommended limits for the most common anesthetic gases, nitrous oxide (N2O) and the halogenated gases (Enflurane, Halothane, Isoflurane, Desflurane and Sevoflurane). We can monitor for these anesthetics by using diffusion badges clipped to operating room occupants while on duty. We can also take direct reading measurements with an infrared spectrophotometer to detect leaks in the gas supply system or the waste gas scavenging system. The recommended exposure levels for each of the anesthetic gases by NIOSH are as follows:
Nitrous Oxide: 25 ppm during administration
Enflurane: 0.5 ppm, 8-hour TWA
Halothane: 0.5 ppm, 8-hour TWA
Sevoflurane: 0.5 ppm, 8-hour TWA
Desflurane: 0.5 ppm, 8-hour TWA
Isoflurane: 0.5 ppm, 8-hour TWA

(Note: 0.5 ppm for halogenated gases when used with Nitrous Oxide. If used separately, 2 ppm.)

Mysterious Causes. Sometimes employees complain about feeling ill during office hours, or during specific times of the workday. Many workplaces can unknowingly subject employees to physical, chemical or biological irritants that can harm their health. For example, an office renovation can generate harmful dust, paint solvents, the release of asbestos fibers or mold spores. A problematic ventilation system may cause carbon dioxide to build up in office air. We investigate the situation to determine the cause of the problem and offer solutions to remedy them.

woman holding blueprints

Occupational Health and Safety Audits

In general, an audit assesses if an organization’s programs and procedures comply with regulatory requirements, effectively prevent problems, and provide a system for emergency response and corrective action where a health risk has been identified. Often, a senior or highly qualified Industrial Hygienist is needed in order to effectively evaluate complex programs such as Air Containment Control Ventilation, Respiratory Protection or Ergonomics. In other cases, expertise in chemistry, health physics or engineering may be necessary.

Full Program Audit
A full program audit examines every aspect of the organization and the work environment. It will often include both safety and health issues. Policy, Organization, Responsibility, Authority, site inspection, Qualifications, Written Programs are all part of the Program Audit.

Specific Program Element Audits
Often as a result of a full program audit or a regulatory citation (for example, an OSHA citation), the need to address a specific program such as Respiratory Protection, Hazard Communication, Hearing Conservation, Confined Space, Ergonomics, or just regulatory compliance, is identified. We can audit existing programs, define ways to correct deficiencies and develop new programs. We can assist companies with OSHA citation protests by correcting and preventing issues.

For more information about Industrial Hygiene Surveys, Program Development, OSHA Compliance, and Health Risk Assessments, contact us today at 973-366-4660 to discuss your unique needs and obtain a complimentary, no obligation quotation. You may also reach us by using our online contact form.