Working for a healthier workplace
BOHS is one of the biggest occupational hygiene societies in Europe, and the only professional society representing qualified occupational hygienists in the UK. The Society as a whole offers membership to anyone with an interest in a healthy work environment. If you’re not yet a member why not consider joining? Check out the benefits and join online via the Membership section.
The Faculty of Occupational Hygiene within BOHS develops and maintains the professional standards of occupational hygienists, and membership of the BOHS Faculty is restricted to professionally qualified hygienists. The Faculty is also the only UK examining board for professional, postgraduate qualifications in occupational hygiene. The Education section is full of information about routes into occupational hygiene, or if you want specific details about qualifications, go straight to the Examinations section.
Take a look in the Library section for an archive of publications including technical publications, position papers and, in the BOHS Literature section, our newsletters and e-bulletins and our recently published Strategy 2011-2015 Booklet and Annual Report 2012.
What is Occupational Hygiene
Occupational hygienists get involved at the interface of people and their workplaces. They use science and engineering to prevent ill health caused by the work environment - specialising in the assessment and control of risks to health from workplace exposure to hazards. Hygienists help employers and employees to understand these risks and to minimize or eliminate them.
Occupational hygienists can come from many backgrounds - chemists, engineers, biologists, physicists, doctors, nurses and others who have chosen to apply their skills to improving working practices and conditions. At their core is occupational hygiene - where science and engineering meet the human element of work.
With good occupational hygiene science and practice, some occupational health risks have been eliminated, others brought under control. So, it is possible, today, to be a healthy miner; the ill health effects of working with or near to asbestos, and how to avoid them, are now understood; the risk of silicosis has been eliminated in pottery workers who used to die from this lung disease. These are some of the major achievements of occupational hygiene and its scientists and practitioners.
But workplaces will continue to expose workers to health hazards, and the risks will always need to be properly understood and managed. Even now, standards are still poor in many parts of the world, and new risks constantly emerge. The range of health risks in the workplace is more varied than ever. From not just chemical hazards, but physical hazards such as heat and cold, noise, and radiation, or ergonomic, biological and psychological hazards too. And new and emerging technologies – like nano and green technology – and changing ways of working present new challenges. Occupational hygiene is a demanding and exciting field and profession.