In recent years, employee health and safety has become an extremely important issue the petroleum industry has had to face. Rising costs of health insurance and medical expenses, and debilitating occupational diseases have brought about the need for aggressive measures of prevention. The science of Industrial Hygiene has been developed to help prevent occupational exposures to physical, chemical, and biological agents. This prevention is performed through the concepts of anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control.
This paper will discuss many of the necessary elements of an effective industrial hygiene program and how Halliburton has implemented many of these programs.
Industrial hygiene has been defined as "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 well being, or significant discomfort among workers or among the citizens of the community." An industrial hygiene program is not something that is implemented into a company over night, it will require management support, personnel, and time.
Many standards, policies, and programs must be developed and implemented. Elements such as respiratory safety, hazard communication, hearing conservation, exposure monitoring, and industrial hygiene risk assessments are essential to an effective industrial hygiene (IH) program.
In the past, many companies paid little attention to the health and safety of their employees. We cannot conduct business that way. Health and safety must always be a consideration in oil field operations today. Through industrial hygiene, employee exposures to physical and chemical agents can be reduced and eliminated in many cases to provide a healthful working environment.