Have you ever been told you need a CIH and then thought “What is that?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
CIH stands for Certified Industrial Hygienist. Still not clear yet? Understandable. A CIH is a scientist who has undergone years of study and has met the criteria developed by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene to become a CIH.
In simplest terms, someone who is qualified through education and experience to help you protect your employees from hazards in the workplace. A CIH has studied chemistry, epidemiology, sampling & analysis methods, etc. All with the focus on preventing dangerous employee exposures in the workplace.
“We have a safety guy, can’t he do that?” Maybe. Some safety professionals are very capable of industrial hygienists as well, but some aren’t. A safety professional often focuses their time and efforts on protecting employees from safety hazards such as machine guarding, fall protection, PPE, fire protection, etc. While a CIH typically focuses their efforts on protecting employees from exposure hazards to chemicals and other health hazards in the workplace such as excessive noise, heat-related illness, ergonomic concerns, etc. A CIH often has to perform monitoring or sampling to determine if employees are facing hazardous conditions. If your safety guy can do that, great!
Why do I need a CIH?
If you’re concerned about whether your factory, warehouse, office, public building, or residence has something that may adversely affect your health or the health of your employees, then hiring a CIH is the right call. Well-executed IH monitoring is critical to the protection of your employees and your business. If monitoring is not handled properly, you could be making decisions based on bad data or overlooking a hazard because your information is incorrect. A CIH has the education and experience needed to conduct the right kind of monitoring, get the right kind of data, and make sure your workers are protected. While hiring a CIH is not required, and some companies conduct their own monitoring quite successfully, if you are unsure of your monitoring needs, the methods of sampling, or simply what the data you get will even mean, then hiring a CIH to consult is the safest way to protect your workers and your facility.