Every U.S. organization prioritizes employee health and safety at the workplace. But does every company succeed in implementing measures to maintain it? Maintaining industrial hygiene, especially post-pandemic, is extremely challenging as there are several hygiene rules and settings to comply with religiously. To make the work easy, companies hire industrial hygienists.
What Is Industrial Hygiene?
Industrial hygiene deals with measures taken to identify and manage workplace risks and hazards. Mainly, industrial hygiene focuses on four categories of occupational risk:
What Is the Role of An Industrial Hygienist?
The job description of an industrial hygienist revolves around the following five basic operational principles:
Surveying the workplace to observe any hazardous or unsafe elements in the design, operations, processes, workflow, conduct, and more
Understanding several different types of risks in a workplace by researching and recording important technical details
Evaluating the intensity of risk and probability of exposure to align hazards in levels of priority
Implementing measures to prevent and tackle occupational health and safety problems and issues arising in the workplace
Analyzing and maintaining industrial hygiene by assessing each initiative’s impact and effectiveness in the work environment
Industrial hygiene is significant to any workplace because it improves working conditions and attracts several other benefits. Here are the top five compelling benefits of maintaining industrial hygiene:
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1. Employee Productivity Levels Increase
While individual factors are part of the mix, an employee’s productivity is majorly dependent on how the company treats and values them. Organizational factors like workplace conditions, environment, workforce, perks, resources, authority, freedom, and more play a huge role in defining a worker’s productivity. Industrial hygiene takes up a significant portion of factors affecting employee motivation.
Therefore, companies must consider hiring industrial hygiene experts with an online masters in industrial hygiene to expertly analyze, predict, and preempt an organization’s hazards and health factors. By leveraging the skills attained through online degrees, such experts assist organizations in navigating hygiene challenges and devising workable strategies accordingly.
Industrial hygiene experts make the workplace environment sanitary, safe, and supportive by eliminating or minimizing unclean, unsafe, distracting, and stressful factors. In the absence of these anxiety and fatigue-promoting factors, employee motivation and productivity increase dramatically. That’s because fewer workplace injuries occur, fewer employees fall sick on the job, and fewer people feel uncomfortable in their work environment. As a result, workers approach work with newfound focus and energy, helping them complete their tasks more efficiently. Productivity boosts also enhance levels of professionalism in the workplace, benefitting the organization greatly.
2. Workers’ Healthcare Costs Reduce Significantly
Workers in high-risk industries in the U.S. (such as construction, mining, and manufacturing) regularly work around several potential hazards. Essentially because they rely on heavy material handling, physically demanding tasks, harmful chemicals, uncertain environments, strenuous work, and more. One mishap can introduce a business to excessive healthcare costs associated with employee injury and illness. Adhering to these costs isn’t easy. They can take a heavy toll on a company’s insurance premiums, healthcare packages, revenue earnings, etc.
When organizations invest in industrial hygiene, they save themselves from significantly draining healthcare costs. Instead, they invest in initiatives that make the workplace environment safe and the surrounding community protected, which eventually pays off greatly in the long run. Several workplace injuries and illnesses can be avoided with one investment in safety and hygiene.
If anything, this investment helps a business save high costs as minimal revenue goes into insurance premiums and employee health programs. Industrial hygiene also improves workers’ life expectancy, so they don’t lose good employees to hazardous conditions and risky settings.
3. Employee Absenteeism and Turnover Rates Decline
When organizations put in minimal effort to control and manage workplace risks and hazards, employee absenteeism and turnover rates increase extensively. It all begins with absenteeism – employees show up late, leave early, and avoid work – eventually leading to turnover where workers quit or hand in their resignations. A major reason employees start to deter the workplace is that they find the working conditions risky to their health and safety. Organizations that fail to address these concerns lose worthy, competent employees.
Such instances mostly occur in a poorly designed workplace (unsafe working conditions) or a mismanaged workplace (demeaning and unfair treatment). But companies can fix such workplaces by introducing industrial hygiene practices, tackling occupational illness and injury, and employee demotivation. Implementation of industrial hygiene may succeed in telling employees they are valued at the workplace and their well-being is of utmost priority.
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4. Workers’ Professionalism Levels Boost Instantly
When organizations comply with industrial hygiene practices, they indirectly fulfill their corporate social responsibility – self-regulating actions to become socially accountable to all business stakeholders. In doing so, businesses express that they value their partners, clients, customers, and employees regardless of their hierarchy level. The stakeholders, especially workers, of an organization address this value addition and feel the need to return it. Most of the time, they do so by improving their work outcomes and professional conduct.
When all employees start performing similarly, the productivity in a workplace increases significantly. This level of professionalism reflects positively on the company as a whole. It enhances an organization’s reputation, bringing several benefits like loyal customers, competitive advantages, reliability, professional relationships, etc.
5. Employee Onboarding and Training Costs Subside
Almost every organization goes through a yearly recruitment cycle to fill open slots and job vacancies. However, companies struggling to maintain industrial hygiene have to host several recruitment cycles in a year to compensate for the high employee turnover rates. Sometimes this also means that they urgently settle for inadequate employees to satisfy the organizational need. It’s pertinent to mention that taking on a new employee isn’t easy. Recruitment involves several additional up-front expenses that a business needs to address.
Some of these expenses revolve around hosting interviews to find qualified candidates, hiring headhunters to source the right talent, complying with the onboarding process, and introducing employees to the new training. All these activities require intensive time, effort, and money.
In contrast, an organization with commendable industrial hygiene practices successfully tackles its declining employee turnover rate. When no employees leave the organization, there are no slots for new workers to fill.
Workplaces have changed significantly post-Covid-19. Most organizations prioritize industrial hygiene to make their employees feel safe and protected. The benefits mentioned above further explain why industrial hygiene is important for organizations. Today, every organization should understand, implement, and maintain hygiene measures to ensure their workers’ safety. Ultimately, it’ll help maintain optimum performance and significantly enhance overall operational capabilities.