Industrial Hygiene and the Public Health – Health System Example

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"Industrial Hygiene and the Public Health" is a great example of a paper on the health system.   Industrial hygiene is the art and science which has been developed to recognize, evaluate, prevent, anticipate and control the factors present in the environment which may be hazardous ( causing impaired health or compromised well being) to the employees of the industry or the general population of the community. This art and science have classified the environmental factors into the following areas: biological: bacteria, viruses, or any other pathogens which might compromise the well being of an employee of the general public. chemical: hazardous chemicals that might either be used in the making of certain materials but also be made as by-products when certain materials are made. physical: mechanical or physical faults of products in a workplace which might result in physical injury.

< ergonomic: a human element that might cause stressful situations psychosocial: emotional balance which might be disturbed due to surroundings.   The impact of all these stressors on the community and how it is being dealt with can be defined as Public Health. The importance of Public health can be appreciated by understanding the effect of these stressors on the community which will be discussed later. Discussion Since the beginning of the industries, there have been events that have shown the need for safety measures and industrial hygiene.

Examples in history have been Circa 400BC, lead toxicity in mining. 500 hundred years later, Pilney the scholar, identified zinc and sulfur hazards and introduced masks to protect the miners. In 1556 Agricola, the German scholar numerated the diseases that coal miners suffered from; he also discussed the preventive measures which should be taken in order to safeguard these employees (Huang et al, 6).

In the 1700’ s Bernadino Ramazzini who is considered the father of Industrial Hygiene because of his approach to illnesses, and linking diseases to the patient’ s profession. Since then, the study and science of occupational medicine ( also known as industrial hygiene today ) has been slowly and gradually evolving, and encompassing new methodologies after studying health and safety hazards in the workplace (Frumkin, 731). In 1800 and 1900 the progress in the areas pertaining to occupational preventive medicine had been tremendous.

Further research work brought about the formation of the US Public Health Service in the United States and similar organizations came up in other countries to ensure the well being of the employees. Till the 21st century, scientific knowledge has increased and so has the investigative methodologies to improve the health hazards in the environment and brought about the formation of the Occupational Safety & Health Act and the Environmental Protection Act. As of today, every major industrial area has a comprehensive industrial hygiene plan which focuses on all the environmental factors and their effects.   The following features are the areas on which industrial hygiene is based on: examining the industrial environment Gathering and interpreting the data from the research studies in the industrial environment.

Choosing and executing the implementation of control measures in the selected environment. Creating standards for the working conditions based on the findings Preparing the proper warnings and precautions in areas that have the potential of being harmful. Educating not only the working community but also (where necessary) the community at large with regards to industrial hygiene. Preparation of survey and case studies or identified potential risks in the work environment.

  People are the most important commodities in the study of industrial hygiene, as all the research is based on them and is working for their betterment. This is why the basis of preventive medicine/ occupational medicine is the area of study which is at the time working to ensure every new source of probable or possible harm is identified before an incident can occur. For this purpose, the most important aspect of industrial hygiene is preventive medicine.

As it allows new methodologies to be introduced to ensure safety and also conduct the risk assessment for each aspect of the industrial process. Correlating the industrial process with any disease might have a possibility to develop in an employee. The preventive medicine aspect is even more important because it also allows the planning of risk management in cases where any of the stressors may have actually caused harm and a fire fighting regime is required to manage the situation. In this scenario also it would be the Industrial hygienist who would be using the science of preventive medicine to ensure that the process of containing the situation is followed.

There are multiple methodologies which are employed to gather the required data from the environment, and they are: Walkthrough the survey: this enables the surveyor to highlight any area of interest which he or she might have. This does not necessarily mean each and every safety hazard can be identified in this way. But does ensure that some things that might have been overlooked can also be explored.

Hazard Survey: Any area which is a known potential hazard sight like an electrical closet, or biological or chemical labs needs to be monitored with more specificity and preferably with a checklist in hand, ensuring that no point is missed. These checklists do need to be scrutinized from time to time to ensure that the surveys being done are up to date. Sampling: This is to test the biological and chemical factors in the environment. The sampling can be done of air, dust, clothing, skin scrapings, etc, to check for any viable cause of disease.

This process might be a little longer than most as growing pathogens or checking chemical or radiation levels does take time, but in the long run, these are the finding which helps the industrial hygienist improve the work environment and formulate plans for the prevention of these pathogens from ever becoming harmful.   The data inferred from all the surveys and the testing has given the industrial hygienist the information they require to form the art of solving the problem which might arise for the potential harmful factors.

All industries want to protect their most valued asset which is the employee. In order to make the environment safe and fit for work, a lot of processes, rules, and regulations have been altered.   Safety standards have been regularized by governments internationally to ensure that there are no harmful products in the work environment and these are being followed. While researching and preparing for this paper, the appreciation for such science which has the application in every industry, whether it is the aeronautical industry, in which the industrial hygienist not only works for the safety of the passengers on the plane but also the terminal and ground staff.

Example of earmuffs; the idea that the noise of the aircraft would lead to employees to damage their hearing or getting ear problems, to solve this the industrial hygienist found the solution by making it mandatory for all ground staff to be wearing earmuffs. Whether it be the pharmaceutical industry or any other manufacturing industry the need for industrial hygienists is too great to ignore. Every aspect of every process is scrutinized by these people to ensure that no angle is missed.

That every safety standard is being met, and where required, the safety standard is being rewritten in order to ensure that every employee and the general public is safe from the possible hazards. During this time, while preparing this paper, there was also a feeling of respect for these individuals who have throughout history devoted their lives to this science and developing this art, which has in the long run, to date saved millions of lives, as well as millions of dollars in medical bills for the employees, the industries as well as the government. Conclusion This science is not only concentrating on the environmental factors that affect the employees but also the community at large.

It protects them from the environmental hazards which might cause illnesses or diseases. If these methodologies had been employed in places like Chernobyl then there would never have been a nuclear disaster. Or even the oil spills which have occurred in the past, they could have been avoided, if the standards laid out by industrial hygienists had been followed.

Now there is a greater understanding of how easy it is to avoid these hazardous situations as well as design better policies and processes to ensure any potentially threatening situation can be handle as swiftly as possible. This science is not only responsible for keeping our in an industrial environment in check but also ensuring that the delicate balance in our ecological environment is also maintained. There is an endless list of benefits of these industrial hygienists who are scientists, engineering, technicians, who work in this super-specialized field allowing us to enjoy the benefits of the industrial products with the environmental safety.

References

Huang, Yuh-Chin T, Andrew J. Ghio, and Lisa A. Maier. A Clinical Guide to Occupational and Environmental Lung Diseases. New York: Humana Press, 2012. Print.

Frumkin, Howard. Environmental Health: From Global to Local. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2005. Print.

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