Workplace Health

  • Safety - usually associated with acute injuries, short-term, traumatic exposures

  • Health - usually directed at chronic exposures, persistent, prolonged, repeated


Industrial Hygiene - "that science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of those environmental factors or stresses, arising in or from the workplace, which may cause sickness, impaired health and wellbeing, or significant discomfort, and inefficiency among workers or among the citizens of the community"

Environmental Stresses

  • Chemical-environmental concentrations

  • Physical - noise, heat, ionizing, etc.

  • Ergonomic - man-machine interface

  • Biological - micro living organisms

States of Matter

  • Solids - definite shape and volume

  • Liquids - definite volume but no definite shape

  • Gases - neither definite volume nor shape

Chemical Stresses

  • Chart (available in full paper)

  • Dusts - solid particles from handling, grinding, crushing, impact (1-25 microns)(cotton, grain, grinding wheels)

  • Smoke - carbon or soot particles less than .1 microns in size and are the products of incomplete combustion (fire, gas engines)

  • Fumes - solid particles generated by condensation from the gaseous state (welding, soldering, brazing)

  • Aerosols - solid particles or liquid droplets of fine enough size to remain dispersed in air for a prolonged period of time (powder sprays, paint sprays)

  • Mists - suspended liquid droplets generated by condensation of liquids, or by breaking up a liquid into a dispersed state(mixing vats, maintenance degreasers)

  • Vapors - volatile form of a substance normally a liquid or solid at STP(paint thinners, nail polish remover)

Terms to Express Concentrations

  • TLV - threshold limit value - airborne concentration under which it is believed that nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed day after day without adverse effect (ACGIH)

  • PEL - permissible exposure limit (OSHA)

  • TWA - time weighted average - average exposure over a workday

  • C - ceiling - level not to be exceeded at any time

  • STEL - short term exposure limit (15 minute exposure not producing harm)

  • REL's-recommended exposure limit, NIOSH term to designate agency's maximum concentration

  • BEI-biological exposure index; advisory levels adopted for some substances by ACGIH based on blood, urine, or expired air-TLV-TWA for eight hours

  • ppm - parts per million

  • mg/m3 - milligrams per cubic meter

Routes of Entry

  • Inhalation - breathing, most common

  • Ingestion - swallowing

  • Absorption - penetration through the skin

  • Injection - forcing by mechanical

Effects of Exposure

  • Concentration of substance

  • Probability of substance to produce injury

  • Rate of generation of material

  • Control measures


Capacity of a material to produce injury or harm; Depends on dose, rate, method, site of entry, general health of individual, diet, temperature

Toxic Effects

  • Irritants - inflame surfaces of the body

  • Systemic poisons - attack organs or system

  • Depressants - affect the central nervous system

  • Asphyxiants - prevent oxygen from reaching body cells (simple-nitrogen; chemical--carbon monoxide)

  • Carcinogens - cancer causing (benzene)

  • Teratogens - affect the fetus (lead)

  • Mutagens - affect the species (radiation)

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