Occupational Hygiene

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Numerous manufacturing processes, operations and equipment/machinery involving the use of chemicals can result in occupational hygiene concerns due to worker exposure to hazardous substances. Some of these activities or the environments in which machinery and equipment is present can also lead to worker exposure to physical agents such as noise and heat. Overexposure to such chemical and physical hazards is a major cause of occupational illness among workers and can also result in significant costs for business through lost time and higher work place insurance premiums.
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REGULATIONS: Ontario Regulation 833/90, Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents; Designated Substances Regulations;Ontario Regulation 213/91, Construction Projects; Ontario Regulation 851/90, Industrial Establishments; Ontario Regulation 67/93, Health Care and Residential Facilities; Ontario Regulation 632/05, Confined Spaces; Ontario Regulation 860/90, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS); Bill C-45 – amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code.

WHO: Owners of commercial, industrial and health care facilities; construction managers.

OBLIGATIONS: Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act it is the duty of owners and other persons (including employers, supervisors and constructors) to ensure that the health and safety of workers is protected by taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances. Bill C-45 amended the Canadian Criminal Code where all organizations and individuals who direct the work of others have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of workers and the public.

Important Services
- Designated substances assessments
- Noise assessments
- Heat stress evaluation
- Workplace safety evaluations
- WHMIS/Occupational hygiene training programs
- Ventilation assessments

Occupational Hygiene

< Back
Numerous manufacturing processes, operations and equipment/machinery involving the use of chemicals can result in occupational hygeine concerns due to worker exposure to hazardous substances. Some of these activities or the environments in which machinery and equipment is present can also lead to worker exposure to physical agents such as noise and heat. Overexposure to such chemical and physical hazards is a major cause of occupational illness among workers and can also result in significant costs for business through lost time and higher work place insurance premiums.

Occupational Hygiene
Safetech Environmental Limited (SEL) has extensive experience and qualifications that allows us to provide our clients with a wide range of occupational hygiene related services. We are staffed with professionals having Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), Registered Occupational Hygienist (ROH), and Certified Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) designations. Coupled with familiarity of applicable health and safety regulations [click to go to regulations page] and our experience in industrial and manufacturing facilities and construction sites, SEL is able to provide extensive occupational hygiene related services, which includes the following:

Workplace Safety Evaluations – In order to protect worker safety and health and to ensure compliance with applicable regulations SEL can perform site inspections of your facility or construction site. Inspections can be broad or can focus on specific job activities or work locations. At the completion of the evaluation SEL will provide a written report outlining specific contraventions and the severity of each, with recommendations made to rectify these infractions. SEL can also perform follow-up inspections to ensure that the changes have been properly and adequately implemented.

Workplace Exposure Assessments – To ensure the health of workers and compliance with Ontario Regulation 833 [would take you to 2nd paragraph of regs page], SEL can perform workplace exposure assessments. SEL will review relevant information regarding the products used, the process in question and worker activities to develop a comprehensive air sampling plan. SEL can also review existing engineering controls, work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) used to provide a comprehensive occupational hygiene assessment.

Designated Substance Assessments – If your workplace uses designated substances [go to paragraph 3 of the regs page], Ontario regulations require an assessment to be made. Components of the assessment include an evaluation of work activities (including air sampling) to determine if workers are likely to be exposed to the designated substance. If this assessment determines that exposure is likely, a control program is required to be implemented. SEL can perform an initial assessment to determine whether a control program is necessary. If so, SEL can then help our clients develop and implement a comprehensive control program.

Noise Assessments – Exposure to excessive noise levels can result in work-related hearing loss. SEL can perform a wide variety of testing and assessment activities for noise, including personal noise exposure assessments, noise mapping, and noise evaluation of specific equipment. Results of monitoring can then be used to determine if workers are being overexposed to noise and if so what type of control measures could best be implemented.

Local Exhaust Ventilation Assessments – Ventilation can be one of the most successful engineering controls to limit worker exposure to hazardous chemicals. However, the system must be designed based on the type and quantity of contaminants being generated and it must also be properly maintained to ensure efficient operation. SEL can review the design of the ventilation system and perform a variety of air velocity measurements to determine the adequacy of the system. Based on this review, recommendations for improvement of system performance can then be made.

Specific Hazard Assessments – In addition to assessments for specific chemical contaminants, assessment for other potential health and safety hazards can be performed by SEL. Such assessments include evaluation for heat stress, confined space monitoring and assessment of airborne exposures to potentially hazardous substances during Pre-Start Health & Safety Reviews.

Occupational Hygiene Training Programs – SEL offers training for WHMIS that covers the training requirements of Regulation 860 [go to paragraph 4 of the regs section]. In addition to WHMIS training, SEL can provide tailored training courses on specific health & safety related items in your work environment, such as proper use of personal protective equipment and hearing conservation. Please refer to our training [click to go to training section] section for additional details.

Health & Safety Regulations in Ontario
In Ontario, the health and safety of workers is protected under several regulations made under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA). This Act applies to almost every worker, supervisor, employer and workplace in Ontario that is not federally regulated. Specific regulations made under the Act apply primarily to work environments such as industrial and manufacturing facilities and construction sites. Key safety regulations include Regulation 851 “Industrial Establishments” and Regulation 213/91 “Construction Projects”These regulations primarily govern safety aspects for workplaces including requirements for providing proper guarding on machinery, fire prevention, material handling, and protective equipment, and proper use of ladders, scaffolds, etc. Regulation 213/91 provides additional safety requirements for working in specific construction environments such as tunnels, excavations, or compressed air environments.

One of the primary regulations protecting the health of workers from exposure to airborne contaminants in Ontario workplaces is Regulation 833 “Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents”. This regulation requires employers to protect workers from exposure to hazardous biological or chemical agents by restricting the amount and duration of exposure to over 700 hazardous substances. Airborne exposure limits provided in Regulation 833 are known as Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) and can come in the form of Time-Weighted Average Exposure Values (TWAEVs), Short-Term Exposure Values (STEVs) and Ceiling Exposure Values (CEVs), depending on whether the airborne limit is averaged over 8-hours, 15-minutes, or is a concentrations that should never be exceeded at any point in time. The concentrations and averaging times listed in Regulation 833 have been set at levels that are expected to protect the majority of workers from the onset of specific adverse health effects (even with repeated daily exposures) and have been established based on the best scientific and medical evidence available. This regulation requires employers to take measures to ensure that the airborne concentrations of contaminants remains below their respective OELs through the use of engineering controls, work practices, and if necessary, personal protective equipment.

In addition to Regulation 833 there are eleven individual contaminants in Ontario that have regulations applicable specifically for that one particular substance. These contaminants are referred to as Designated Substances and include acrylonitrile, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, coke oven emissions, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica and vinyl chloride. Specific regulations were developed for these compounds due to their well documented, severe health effects that overexposure may pose. The designated substances regulations not only provide regulated airborne exposure limits for each contaminant but also include additional requirements such as the completion of a hazard assessment and implementation of a control program when it is determined that a worker is likely to be exposed to the substance. Components of control programs include measures that are to be taken to protect workers from exposure to the designated substance and procedures to monitor exposure and worker health. Every control program includes provisions for engineering controls, work practices, and hygiene practices and facilities to control worker exposure to the substance and also includes provisions for monitoring worker exposure, record keeping and medical monitoring.

In order to ensure that workers are aware of and familiar with all potential hazardous aspects of products that they work with or are in proximity to, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) was developed. WHMIS is a national system with consistent requirements across the country. It requires suppliers of hazardous materials to provide information on those hazards to their customers, and requires employers to provide this information to workers with labels, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and worker education. In Ontario, Regulation 860, “Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)” regulates WHMIS.

For substances where no airborne exposure limits exist, the OHSA still requires employers of workplaces using any substance not covered by one of the above regulations to take reasonable precautions in the circumstances to protect the worker. This clause in the OHSA is known as the general duty clause.

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