Industrial hygiene is the science of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling workplace conditions that may cause workers' injury or illness. In the past, there was a fairly clear separation of the industrial hygiene and safety roles in the workplace. No more. Occupational safety, industrial hygiene and even environmental scientists now must be relatively versed and proficient in other disciplines. Most organizations are looking for generalists, not necessarily specialists.

Occupational safety and industrial hygiene professionals are presented with a myriad of health risks and concerns they are tasked with recognizing, evaluating and controlling in the workplace. And the list of risks and considerations is every changing. The list of issues morph, evolve and new risks are added. Risks very seldom drop off the list.

This presentation is a "potpourri" of many of those emerging; changing, morphing and evolving industrial hygiene risks and concerns that has current application in the construction environment.

This presentation is a simple overview of those topics, what's emerging, a brief discussion with take away's for the student.


There 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. In 1556 the German scholar, Agricola, described the diseases of miners and prescribed preventive measures. His book included suggestions for mine ventilation and worker protection, discussed mining accidents, and described diseases associated with mining occupations such as silicosis.

In 1700, 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).

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