Industrial Hygiene Services

. . . “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.”

We offer industrial hygiene evaluations for services that include air monitoring, noise testing, ventilation assessments and indoor air quality evaluations. Workplace evaluations to determine the need for other particular services is also available, but may involve outside specialists. For pricing and scheduling please contact Christine Reed, at 515-276-4724, ext. 226.

[Air Monitoring]  [Noise Monitoring
[Ventilation System Monitoring & Investigation]  [Indoor air Quality]

Air Monitoring

During a discussion with you we can determine the specific chemicals that should be analyzed. The monitoring conducted is to determine “breathing zone” exposures; this means the representative employee(s) will wear the collection device for the sampling period. The sampling period, unless otherwise noted, is for the entire work shift; this will allow us to determine the time weighted average (TWA) to compare to the appropriate exposure limit. We compare the TWA to either OSHA, NIOSH or ACGIH exposure limits per OSHA recommendation to use the lowest established exposure limit; reference OSHA News Release dated Oct 24, 2013 titled, “OSHA releases new resources to better protect workers from hazardous chemicals”. These air samples are then sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis. Once we received the laboratory results we will calculate the TWA and make appropriate recommendations as needed.

We can also perform air monitoring that determines exposure concentration at the moment, the TWA is “not” calculated; this type of monitoring only determines the exposure at the time for events such as confined space entry, emergency response, or as a means to screen for the presence of chemicals and determine if more detailed monitoring is necessary. This type of monitoring is conducted using direct reading instruments or detector tubes/badges.

Noise Monitoring

Based on a discussion about your noise sources we can conduct noise testing that will quantify noise exposures to determine the TWA for noise based on OSHA’s action level (85 dBA) and PEL (90 dBA). The representative employee(s) will wear a noise dosimeter for the entire work shift to determine the TWA. Detailed reports from the noise dosimeter download can also tell us if the short term exposure limit (115 dBA) or the ceiling limit (140 dBA) have been exceeded; if so, we can work with you to identify possible controls to reduce those high levels.

We can also perform noise mapping of the facility to identify all noise sources and locations. Noise mapping is simply measuring each noise source using a sound level meter, drawing a map and locating these sources. These results can be used to determine if noise dosimetry is needed and where, or it can be used for comparison to past data to identify if there have been changes that might warrant conducting noise dosimetry.

Ventilation System Monitoring & Investigation

Industrial ventilation generally involves the use of supply and exhaust ventilation to control emissions, exposures, and chemical hazards in the workplace. Ventilation may be deficient in:

•confined spaces
•facilities failing to provide adequate maintenance of ventilation equipment
• facilities operated to maximize energy conservation
• windowless areas
• areas with high occupant densities

We can investigate and work with you to determine if your system is adequate or if the system may need to be modified or replaced.

We can check ventilation in welding areas, battery charging rooms, paint booths, and many other specific areas and compare the results to OSHA or other national standards.

Indoor air Quality

Modern office buildings are generally considered safe and healthful working environments. However, energy conservation measures instituted during the early 1970's have minimized the infiltration of outside air and contributed to the buildup of indoor air contaminants. Investigations of indoor air quality (IAQ) often fail to identify any harmful levels of specific toxic substances. Often employee complaints result from items such as cigarette smoke, odors, low-level contaminants, poor air circulation, thermal gradients, humidity, job pressures, lighting, work-station design, or noise. 

Employee complaints can be due to two types of building problems: sick or tight building syndrome and building related illnesses.

1. Sick building syndrome is a condition associated with complaints of discomfort including headache; nausea; dizziness; dermatitis; eye, nose, throat, and respiratory irritation; coughing; difficulty concentrating; sensitivity to odors; muscle pain; and fatigue. The specific causes of the symptoms are often not known but sometimes are attributed to the effects of a combination of substances or individual susceptibility to low concentrations of contaminants. The symptoms are associated with periods of occupancy and often disappear after the worker leaves the worksite.

2. Building-related illnesses are those for which there is a clinically defined illness of known etiology and include infections such as legionellosis and allergic reactions such as hypersensitivity diseases and are often documented by physical signs and laboratory findings. 

An investigation of your facility can be done to identify causes of the discomfort or illness that employees are experiencing. The investigation involves a visual look at the work areas, identifying work tasks or operations that may be contributing to the symptoms or diseases, appropriate monitoring to quantify exposures, and making recommendations for corrective action to eliminate or reduce the cause(s).