Industrial hygiene – a dreadly environmental factor

“Science and Art used in the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of those environmental factors which may cause sickness, impaired health and well-being, or discomfort among workers or among the citizens of the community”.

Industrial hygiene - a dreadly environmental factorThere has been an awareness of industrial hygiene since antiquity. The environment and its relation to worker health were recognized as early as the fourth century BC when Hippocrates noted lead toxicity in the mining industry.

‘In the first century AD, Pliny the Elder, a Roman scholar, perceived health risks to those working with zinc and sulfur. He devised a face mask made from an animal bladder to protect workers from exposure to dust and lead fumes’.

Safety hazards associated with animal feed can be biological, chemical or physical. Each hazard is associated with particular sources and routes of contamination and exposure. Risk management must be based on a thorough understanding of Hazard Bases.

Industrial hygiene gained further respectability in 1700 when Bernardo Ramazzini, known as the “father of industrial medicine” published in Italy the first comprehensive book on industrial medicine, De Morbis Artificum Diatriba (The Diseases of Workmen).

The book contained accurate descriptions of the occupational diseases of most of the workers of his time. Ramazzini greatly affected the future of industrial hygiene because he asserted that occupational diseases should be studied in the work environment rather than in hospital wards.


A worksite analysis is an essential first step that helps an industrial hygienist determine what jobs and work stations are the sources of potential problems. During the worksite analysis, the industrial hygienist measures and identifies exposures, problem tasks, and risks.

The most-effective worksite analysis include all jobs, operations, and work activities. The industrial hygienist inspects, researches, or analyzes how the particular chemicals or physical hazards at that worksite affect worker health. If a situation hazardous to health is discovered, the industrial hygienist recommends the appropriate corrective actions.


Administrative controls include controlling employee’s exposure by scheduling production and tasks, or both, in ways that minimize exposure levels. For example, the employer might schedule operations with the highest exposure potential during periods when the fewest employees are present.

When effective work practices or engineering controls are not feasible or while such controls are being instituted, appropriate personal protective equipment must be used for good environmental factor.

Examples of personal protective equipment are gloves, safety goggles, helmets, safety shoes, protective clothing, and respirators. To be effective, personal protective equipment must be individually selected, properly fitted and periodically refitted; conscientiously and properly worn; regularly maintained; and replaced, as necessary.


Harmful chemical compounds in the form of solids, liquids, gases, mists, dusts, fumes, and vapors exert toxic effects by inhalation (breathing), absorption (through direct contact with the skin), or ingestion (eating or drinking).

The most effective and reliable controls are those that result in protection from the hazardous chemicals are Substitution, Isolation, Engineering controls and Personal protective equipment.

Classes of Mycotoxins common in Animal feed

Mycotoxins Contaminated Products Animal Affected


Aflatoxins Corn, Peanut, Cottonseed, tree nuts, Dairy products Swine, Dogs, cat. Sheep, Cattles, Human, birds
Ergot alkaloids Rye, Sorghum, Pasture, grasses Cattle, Sheep/Goat, Human
Fumonisins Corn, Silage Horses, Swine, Human
Ochratoxins Cereals, grapes Swine, Human
Trichothocenes Wheat, Barley, Oats, Corn Swine, Dairy Cattle, Poultry, Horses, Human
Zearalenone Corn, Hay Swine, Daily Cattle


Places of work generally have power nominally supplied at 230 volt (single phase) and 400 volt (3 phase) although some larger workplaces will receive electricity at a higher supply voltage.

The main hazards with electricity are:

  1. Contact with live parts causing shock and burns, 2.faults which could cause fires, or explosion where electricity could be the source of ignition in a potentially flammable or explosive atmosphere

Industrial Emergency Rooms provide life-saving measures to tens of thousands of individuals injured/maimed/impaired as a direct/indirect result of the effects of electric current passing through their bodies.


These include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other living organisms that can cause acute and chronic infections by entering the body either directly or through breaks in the skin. Occupations that deal with plants or animals or their products or with food and food processing may expose workers to biological hazards.

Elimination of the source of contamination is fundamental to the prevention and control of biological hazards.

Recommended limits for microbial contaminations in Industry:

Grade Air sample cfu/m3 Settle plates

(diameter 90mm)

Cfu/4 hours

Contact plates

Diameter 55mm) cfu/plate

Glove print 5 fingers cfu/glove
A <1 <1 <1 <1
B 10 5 5 5
C 100 50 25
D 200 100 50


Effective controls protect workers from workplace hazards, help avoid injuries, illnesses, and incidents, minimize or eliminate safety and health risks, and help employers provide workers with safe and healthful working conditions. The processes described below will help employers prevent and control hazards identified in the previous section.


    • Step 1: Identify control options
    • Step 2: Select controls
    • Step 3: Develop and update a hazard control plan
    • Step 4: Select controls to protect workers during non-routine operations and emergencies
    • Step 5: Implement selected controls in the workplace
  • Step 6: Follow up to confirm that controls are effective

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