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What Is Occupational Hygiene? Educational Guide

30 January 2014

Bethan Stones headshot

Bethan Stones

Group Marketing Manager

Occupational Hyigene

What Is Occupational Hygiene?

Occupational Hygiene relates to the protection of worker health and the associated business benefits. Ill health, disease and death from work activities puts a large social and economic burden on workers, their families, businesses and the UK as a whole. With consultants who are members of the BOHS, Envirocare aims to reduce this burden for these reasons. We assess hazards, measure exposure and provide advice on managing risk to our clients aiming to protect people from becoming ill and dying due to their work.

“The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) was founded in 1953 and was awarded Royal Charter status in 2012 in recognition of its unique and preeminent role representing the scientific discipline and profession of occupational hygiene in the UK.“ (This quote is from the BOHS Exposure Magazine, February 2013, Issue 1, www.bohs.org.)

BOHS is a charity working with other stakeholders “to reduce the toll of occupational ill health, disease and death.” This toll of ill health is significant. HSE estimates put numbers at tens of thousands of new cases of occupational disease and around 12000 deaths each year. There are many of examples of such health issues employees have to suffer, one such is the huge number of work related cancer deaths per year, at around 8000.

Stats Time

The latest HSE statistics for workplace ill health and accidents (HSE, 2012/13, published October 2013) reveal that 22.7 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health. This is many times more than the 4.3 million lost due to workplace injury. The respiratory specialist physicians report on ill health cases in a scheme called SWORD (surveillance of work related and occupational respiratory disease). This states that in 2012 there were 177 new cases of asthma reported to chest physicians; the number of cases has fallen by around a half over the past 10 years. Vehicle spray painters and bakers are the occupations with the highest rates of asthma.

The Good News

However, there is good news, as Great Britain performs well compared to other large economies such as Germany, Spain, Italy and France. Rates of work-related ill health resulting in sick leave were lower for us in 2007 than most other EU countries.

The Financial Cost

Data from 2010/11 shows that workplace illness cost society an estimated £8.4 billion; whilst workplace injury (including fatalities) was an estimated £5.4 billion. (ill health data takes longer to collect due to the nature of costs).

How Occupational Hygiene Makes a Difference

Those working in occupational hygiene measure, assess results and help employers to control risks with the aim of preventing and minimising ill health caused by work.

The below video will provide more understanding of What Is Occupational Hygiene:

Experts In Occupational Hygiene

Envirocare is a leading Occupational Hygiene & Safety Consultancy with over 20 years of experience and service a wide range of industries throughout the UK who can answer any question you may have relating to What Is Occupational Hygiene.

Call us on 01274 738668 or fill out our Envirocare Enquiry Form for any queries regarding our range of Occupational Hygiene Consultancy services like COSHH, Air Quality Monitoring and LEV Testing.