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What is a Certified Industrial Hygienist? Do I Need One?

If you have need of a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) discussed in this article call us at 1-800-344-4414 or email us at info@atlenv.com for details and a free estimate.


Written by Robert E. Sheriff, CIH, CSP, President

November 7, 2018


What is an Industrial Hygienist? The simplest definition is: A person whose job it is to protect the health of workers and the general public. Through education and experience, an Industrial Hygienist has the ability to recognize health hazards, test the environment for those hazards, determine if there is a risk to human health in a particular situation, and recommend controls or means of protection from the recognized health hazard, and assist in developing worker protection plans, perform audits, and educate and train management and workers.

An Industrial Hygienist may be able to perform one or more of these activities. A Certified Industrial Hygienist (often referred to as a CIH) is one who has a certain level of education (a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering, or greater), a minimum of four years of experience as a full time practitioner in industrial hygiene, formal education in industrial hygiene subjects, and has passed a very rigorous national exam.

A Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) should be knowledgeable in all aspects of protection of the health of workers and the general public. However, many CIH’s are employed by corporations and government agencies and may be involved in a narrower list of activities and responsibilities.

The independent group that certifies Industrial Hygienists is the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). You can search their public roster to determine if an individual is actually a CIH by going to www.ABIH.org.

Certified Industrial Hygienists are a subset of a group called Environmental, Health and Safety experts. A CIH’s main focus is on the health aspect: Occupational Health and Environmental Health, including:

  • Human exposure to chemical, biological, physical and other hazardous contaminants (testing/sampling, control, and understanding their effects)
  • Emergency response planning
  • Organization-wide health and safety planning
  • A very specific code of ethics where protection of the workers and the public is paramount

If you’re concerned about whether your factory, warehouse, office, public building, or residence has something that may adversely affect your health, then a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) is a good choice. It may not be necessary to retain a CIH to do testing work (as a cost control measure) but it is always best to have that work done by an Industrial Hygienist who is under the direct supervision of a Certified Industrial Hygienist. That way you are ensuring that an expert is ultimately responsible for the quality of the work.

Our primary service areas for providing a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) are: NJ, NY, NYC, PA, CT, DE, (Boston) MA, RI, Wash DC, WI, MD, MI, (Chicago) IL, VA, IN, (Atlanta) GA, AL, NC, SC, TN, (Dallas, Ft Worth) TX, OK, DC, AR, we can service most other areas of the U.S. but with some added travel charges.

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