Industrial Hygiene -- Building Health Sciences
Noise Exposure Assessment Help to develop and implement a hearing conservation program that is tailored to your facility. Noise is one of the more prevalent hazards in the workplace. Excessive exposure to noise can increase the risk of permanent hearing loss, as well as affect employee productivity. Consequently, there are regulated noise exposure limits and control standards for workplaces set by regulatory agencies.
Chemical Exposure Assessments Chemical exposure assessments are normally completed in response to legislative requirements, employee concerns or as a due diligence initiatives to assess the effectiveness of existing controls and identify ways to improve them. Chemical exposure assessments consider the various exposure pathways (inhalation, ingestion and absorption) for the chemicals of interest. These could include vapours, gases, dusts, fumes and mists.
Designated Substance (asbestos, lead, etc.) Assessments Designated substances are defined as biological, chemical, or physical agents to which employee exposure is prohibited, regulated, restricted, limited, or controlled. These include acrylonitrile, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, coke oven emissions, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica, and vinyl chloride. When these substances are present in a workplace, the employer is required to conduct an assessment to determine whether the employee's health and safety may be affected and if a written control program is required.
Designated Substance & Hazardous Building Material Assessments The requirement to complete a Designated Substance & Hazardous Building Material Assessment prior to completing any demolition or renovation activities at a facility is outlined in the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Section 30 of the OHSA states that "before beginning a project, the owner shall determine whether any designated substances are present at the project site and shall prepare a list of all designated substances that are present at the site".
Mould Investigations, Remediation & Management Programs Few building related environmental health concerns have raised as much attention as mould in recent years. Naturally present both outdoors and in mechanically ventilated buildings, essentially any water damaged building surface can support mould growth. Various species of mould commonly associated with water damaged building materials have been identified to cause adverse health effects. MTE recognizes the hazards of mould in the workplace and is aware of the guidelines for assessment and control issued by health and safety organizations and public health agencies.
Indoor Air Quality Assessments Mechanical ventilation system evaluation consists of an inspection of air-handling units and ductwork for condition and cleanliness, air filter evaluation, and flow measurement. Indoor air sampling and analysis is conducted using state-of-the-art methods and procedures, many developed specifically for indoor air quality evaluations. Air samples are analyzed for contaminants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, respirable particulate, lower and higher molecular weight hydrocarbons, ammonia, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, formaldehyde, bio-aerosols (bacteria, mould), and other volatile organic compounds. Temperature and relative humidity measurements are also collected. Data collected is analyzed and compared to applicable indoor environmental standards and guidelines. Results are summarized in a detailed report, complete with recommendations that will improve the condition of the existing mechanical ventilation systems and have a positive effect on building air quality.
Electromagnetic Field Surveys Assessment of employee exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the workplace. Surveys are usually focussed around electrical equipment such as transformers, high voltage cables, generators, etc. Typical assessments include collection of EMF measurements throughout the facility to any identify areas with levels, comparison of results to available exposure criteria, and preparation of an assessment report.
Heat & Cold Stress Assessment MTE's Occupational Hygienists evaluate whether significant heat or cold stress exposures exist in the workplace by collecting and evaluating detailed workplace information and environmental conditions, followed by comparison of this information to recognized exposure guidelines. Collected workplace information may include the physical demands of the employee's activities, work/rest cycles, employee clothing and personal protective equipment worn, and existing heat or cold stress controls in place. Environmental conditions are also collected and recorded using scientific instrumentation.
Infection Control All patients within hospitals, health care facilities and long-term care facilities are at a greater risk of developing infections or complications as a result of exposure to environmental contaminants. For this reason they need to be protected from the environmental hazards resulting from building construction and maintenance. Building construction may include renovations, alterations, maintenance, demolition or new construction. Typically these activities are completed following procedures outlined in the Canadian Standards Association Z317.13-07 "Infection Control During Construction, Renovation, and Maintenance of Health Care Facilities" standard.
Fume Hood Assessments A fume hood is a three-sided enclosure with an adjustable front opening. It is designed to capture, contain, and exhaust hazardous fumes generated inside its enclosure. Fume hoods accomplish this by exhausting air through the hood face to the outside of the building. By doing so, fumes are drawn away from the worker's breathing zone. Because exposure to volatile chemicals constitutes one of the top health and safety hazards to laboratory workers, a fume hood operates as a principle safety devise in a laboratory setting.
Lighting Level Assessments Poor lighting in the workplace can be a hazard as it can cause misjudgement of the position, shape or speed of an object which can lead to accidents and injury. In situations where precision is required, poor lighting can affect the quality of work performed, and overall productivity. Too much or too little light can strain eyes, and may cause eye discomfort and headaches. The amount of light workers need varies and depends on:
- The type of task being done (such as demands for speed and accuracy),
- The type of surfaces present (does it reflect or absorb light);
- The general work area, and
- The individual's vision.
Potable Water Quality Assessments Assessments generally consist of collection of water samples from the facility for laboratory analysis.The water sampling serves two purposes:
- To bring attention to any immediate indicators of impaired water quality; and
- To contribute the baseline data necessary for monitoring water quality trends in the future.
Odour Investigations Odour investigations are usually initiated at a facility following receipt of concerns regarding the presence of odours within specific areas or locations. An odour investigation may include a physical inspection of the area in an attempt to detect the odour first hand, provide an independent description of the odour, and attempt to identify its source and method of distribution. Air samples can also be collected for laboratory analysis to assist with identification of the source of the odour.