Occupational Hygiene Consulting

 

Occupational hygiene is the science of anticipating, recognizing, assessing and controlling chemical, physical or biological agents before they adversely affect employees' health and safety.

For example:

  • Chemical agents - gases, dusts, mists, fumes, vapours
  • Physical agents - noise, radiation, vibration, extreme temperature
  • Biological agents - moulds

While some signs of an occupational hygiene problem are immediately apparent – the dizzying smell of solvent vapours, a burning sensation from contact with a certain chemical, ringing in the ears after prolonged exposure to loud noise – common symptoms such as frequent headaches, eye/throat irritation and fatigue can also signal a health hazard. Left unchecked, overexposure to harmful agents can lead to more severe problems such as respiratory conditions, skin diseases and hearing loss.

Measuring workplace noise levels and workers’ noise exposure is an essential part of any hearing loss prevention program. Noise sources are identified, and the sound levels are measured and evaluated against applicable legislations. Recommendations are provided to address solutions to decrease noise exposure, including proper selection of hearing protectors to reduce the risk of occupational hearing loss.

WSPS can provide occupational hygiene services including airborne chemical, physical and biological agent exposure assessments, and indoor air quality exposure assessments. Services such as developing written programs such as a Respiratory Protection Program and Hearing Loss Prevention Program are also offered.

Hearing Loss Prevention Program Development

This service is to help organizations (provincial and federal) formalize their Hearing Loss Prevention Program (HLPP) and ensure it is customized for their application. Having an HLPP in place enables organization to enhance worker health, safety and well-being and optimize system performance to prevent and/or reduce the severity occupational and non-occupational noise induced hearing lost.

Designated Substances Assessment and Control Program

According to Ontario Regulation 490/09, Designated Substances; workplaces that have select chemicals such as lead, benzene, crystalline silica and isocyanates, amongst others, may be required to have an assessment and control program completed.

The assessment should evaluate the exposure or likelihood of exposure to the designated substance. It should also be in writing and completed in consultation with the Joint Health and Safety Committee. If the assessment determines that a worker is exposed or likely to be exposed to the designated substance, then a control program needs to be developed.

Respirator Fit Testing

In accordance with good industry practice and CSA Standard Z94.4, Selection, Use and Care of Respirators, prior to wearing an air purifying respirator in a workplace, a worker needs to be trained on the selection, care, use and limitations. The fit testing should be a function of the workplace’s Respiratory Protection Program for workplaces where respirators are used to protect workers from inhaling an atmospheric hazard when engineering or administrative control measures are not practicable or adequate.


Elizabeth (Betty) Lofthouse, BSc, Consultant

Betty joined WSPS in 2007, and has since experienced great satisfaction seeing the before-and-after results - the fewer accidents and lower costs - of effective health & safety training. Elizabeth (Betty) Lofthouse, BSc, Consultant

 

Consulting Services

WSPS Safety Group

WSPS Safety Group

WSPS is the largest Safety Group provider and one of the longest running sponsors in the province. With our extensive experience and proven track record, by working with us and other member firms participating firms can achieve better results, and qualify for WSIB rebates.

Training

Noise Control & Hearing Conservation

Noise Control & Hearing Conservation

Noise Control & Hearing Conservation is a half-day (3 hour) course to help participants understand legal requirements regarding workplace noise.
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Call for pricing

E-Courses

Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction (English) (1 hour)

Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction (English) (1 hour)

The course provides practical advice on how to investigate and respond to indoor air problems.
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$49.00

Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction (French) (1 hour)

Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction (French) (1 hour)

The course provides practical advice on how to investigate and respond to indoor air problems.
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$49.00

Preventing Hearing Loss from Workplace Noise (English) (1 hour)

Preventing Hearing Loss from Workplace Noise (English) (1 hour)

The main focus of this course is hearing loss prevention and the ways to eliminate or reduce noise exposure.
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$49.00

Preventing Hearing Loss from Workplace Noise (French) (1 hour)

Preventing Hearing Loss from Workplace Noise (French) (1 hour)

The main focus of this course is hearing loss prevention and the ways to eliminate or reduce noise exposure.
View Details 
$49.00

Downloads

Agricultural Safety Topic - Protecting Against Noise (English)

Agricultural Safety Topic - Protecting Against Noise (English)

To know the effect of noise on hearing, and to practice proper protection against unsafe noise levels.

277 KB PDF
Agricultural Safety Topic - Protecting Against Noise (Spanish)

Agricultural Safety Topic - Protecting Against Noise (Spanish)

To know the effect of noise on hearing, and to practice proper protection against unsafe noise levels.

702 KB PDF
Agricultural Safety Topic - Respirator Fit (English)

Agricultural Safety Topic - Respirator Fit (English)

To wear the correct respirator for the job and make sure it fits properly.

606 KB PDF
Agricultural Safety Topic - Respirator Fit (Spanish)

Agricultural Safety Topic - Respirator Fit (Spanish)

To wear the correct respirator for the job and make sure it fits properly.

633 KB PDF
Silica in the Workplace

Silica in the Workplace

The purpose of this guide is to provide general information about silica to employees, members of joint health and safety committees, supervisors, and managers.  The guide outlines uses and health effects of silica, and provides guidelines for setting up a program to determine and control workplace exposures.
448 KB pdf
Hearing Conservation

Hearing Conservation

Once damaged, hearing cannot be restored.  Damaged hearing can affect job performance, health and productivity.
178 KB pdf
Laboratory Safety

Laboratory Safety

Because of the nature of laboratory operations, and the type of equipment used, the results of exposure to these hazards may be more serious.
473 KB pdf
Carbon Monoxide in the Workplace

Carbon Monoxide in the Workplace

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a leading cause of chemical poisoning in both the workplace and the home.  This guide will provide basic information about carbon monoxide, its hazards, detection and control.
993 KB pdf
Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment

In general, there are many types of jobs or tasks that require PPE to protect workers from harm.  Always wear the appropriate PPE for the hazards that may be encountered in the job or that is required by your employer, or by legislation.
428 KB 

Articles

How to protect workers from occupational cancers

How to protect workers from occupational cancers

A new study quantifying the number of cancers resulting from workplace chemical exposure in Ontario is a wake-up call for employers across all industries. "We now have a picture of how big the problem of workplace cancer is in Ontario and it's clear there's work to be done," says WSPS Occupational Hygiene Consultant Craig Fairclough.
Nov 15, 2017
12 questions to help you prepare for this fall’s chemical handling blitz

12 questions to help you prepare for this fall’s chemical handling blitz

From September 19 to October 31, Ministry of Labour inspectors will fan out across the province, visiting workplaces to check records, observe, and ask questions about their chemical handling practices.

Jul 29, 2016
Ontario's New WHMIS regulation: 2 key changes, plus implementation tips

Ontario's New WHMIS regulation: 2 key changes, plus implementation tips

As of July 1, Ontario moved one step closer to full alignment with WHMIS 2015, the new national standard for classifying, labelling and communicating information about hazardous products in the workplace. This was the day on which amendments to Ontario's WHMIS Regulation came into force - amendments that affect your workplace. We can help you understand the changes and start complying.

Jul 29, 2016
Integrating occupational hygiene into your H&S program: a success story

Integrating occupational hygiene into your H&S program: a success story

Like most workplaces, THK Rhythm Automotive Canada doesn't have or need in-house expertise to assess worker exposure to chemical, physical or biological agents. The task requires rigorous scientific methodology, best left to specialists like WSPS occupational hygienist Ilma Bhunnoo.

Jun 07, 2016
Can your respirator program accommodate hipster beards and other physical changes?

Can your respirator program accommodate hipster beards and other physical changes?

The term "fashion victim" takes on new meaning when the trendy full beards hipsters are sporting start interfering with respirator face seals. Wagish Yajaman, occupational hygienist and supervisor of WSPS' Technical Services, sees this firsthand in workplaces he visits.

Apr 04, 2016
A 4-point compliance strategy for Ontario's new noise regulation

A 4-point compliance strategy for Ontario's new noise regulation

A new noise regulation taking effect July 1 will help workplaces better protect employees from the debilitating effects of noise-induced hearing loss. It's more prevalent than you may think. Noise-induced hearing loss claims in Ontario exceed $50 million a year.
Feb 10, 2016
Create your own skin disease posters with WSPS' online poster designer

Create your own skin disease posters with WSPS' online poster designer

A new interactive online program on WSPS' website allows workplaces to customize and download up to seven different posters on occupational skin disease, including dermatitis. Each poster combines a photo of a recognizable workplace situation with action-oriented prevention practices written in simple language. You can print the standard letter-sized posters as is, or adapt them to suit specific needs.

Jul 14, 2015
Lung transplant cases cause for alarm over workplace toxins: 7 steps to protect workers

Lung transplant cases cause for alarm over workplace toxins: 7 steps to protect workers

A series of disturbing research results highlights the need for vigilance in preventing workplace exposure to toxics substances. Last month, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued an alert on exposure to silica1. The alert was triggered by reports of silicosis among 45 workers who make or install stone countertops. Ten required lung transplants.

Mar 06, 2015
Meet new WHMIS / GHS compliance deadlines with these 6 steps

Meet new WHMIS / GHS compliance deadlines with these 6 steps

Manufacturers, importers and distributors of hazardous products now have a series of deadlines for complying with changes to Canada's Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) that have been in the works for years. These deadlines, published in a February issue of the Canada Gazette Part II, also apply to federally regulated employers. Employers under provincial and territorial jurisdiction can likely expect the same or slightly staggered deadlines.

Mar 06, 2015