Occupational Hygiene has been defined ‘as the discipline of anticipating, recognising, evaluating and controlling health hazards in the working environment with the objective of protecting worker health and well-being and safeguarding the community at large'.
Workforce Health SA, have undertaken occupational hygiene assessments and studies of airborne hazards for a wide range of industries over many years. Some of the assessment/project work undertaken to date includes:
• Evaluations of exposure to diesel and combustion fumes.
• Asbestos assessments.
• ‘Sick Building' investigations.
• Assessing welding, soldering and metal processing exposures.
• Carbon monoxide (CO); sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) assessments.
• Dust sampling and analysis.
• Solvent Exposure Assessments.
• Metal fume and particulate sampling.
• Quarry exposures - respirable dust and quartz
• Acid mists, anions and cations.
• Isocyanates, styrene and miscellaneous organic and inorganic contaminants.
• Chemical risk assessments.
Our highly qualified consultants use internationally approved sampling and analytical methods to evaluate exposures. In addition, we provide guidance on the management of risks and the development of appropriate controls.
Acoustics is the science that deals with the study and technology of sound. Generally the study of acoustics includes the generation, propagation, control and reception of mechanical waves and vibrations; their interaction with materials and their effects on the ear and on hearing.
Noise is sometimes defined as unwanted or excessive sound. Depending upon the circumstances - noise can give rise to nuisance and disturbance (environmental or community noise). Occupational exposure to noise (workplace noise) can cause noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus. Excessive noise at work has also been identified as a potential factor in workplace accidents.
When a surface or structure rapidly oscillates backwards or forwards the motion is referred to as vibration. The rate at which the oscillation (repeated movement) occurs is known as the frequency of the vibration and this is measured in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). Sound and vibration are closely related and sound can be considered as pressure waves or air vibrations which are audible. These waves are generated by vibrating structures (e.g., loudspeakers or human vocal cords) and these pressure waves can also induce the vibration of structures. Many activities (e.g., heavy traffic, quarry blasts, etc.) have the potential to give rise to sound and vibration emissions.
Vibration within buildings is generally assessed in terms of its acceptability to the human occupants. In most instances there is a need to distinguish between the perceived risk and the actual risk and invariability we assess the level of vibration against specified criteria. Occasionally large amplitude shock and vibrations will need to be assessed with respect to their potential effects on the buildings and structures, as opposed to the building occupants.
Since the early 80's, Workforce Health SA, have undertaken air quality monitoring and assessments. We have extensive experience in environmental impact assessment, and license applications along with routine compliance monitoring and assessment for the atmospheric environment.
With particular reference to infrastructure development, we have worked on a wide range of projects including:
• waste water treatment plant planning and development,
• the development of industrial parks,
• national road schemes and motorways,
• waste management facilities and landfill site developments,
• sea port developments.
In addition, we have extensive experience of industrial emission monitoring and assessment having worked on license applications, EISs, and routine and investigative monitoring for:
• miscellaneous bottling and processing plants,
• pharmaceutical and chemical processing plants,
• manufacturers of medical devices,
• distilleries and food processing industries,
• electronic production and assembly plants,
• metal processing and light and heavy engineering companies,
• builders and civil engineering/construction companies,
• plastic processing plants,
• printing plants,
• quarries, and
• Miscellaneous process and service industries.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been defined as an integrative environmental management tool which has the ultimate objective of providing decision-makers with an indication of the likely consequences of their decisions relating to new projects or to new programmes, plans or policies. In essence, the process involves a number of key parties including: designers, planners, developers, designated authorities, representative groups and individual citizens with a view to anticipating the likely outcomes of certain developments and providing for any unacceptable impacts which may ensue.
EIA evolved in the RSA and has been incorporated in to our national planning and development control procedures. It has also been integrated with a range of authorization and licensing procedures. Since the early 80's, Workforce Health SA, have been directly involved with the EIA process and most often have acted on behalf of developers and/or planning authorities.
Many clients have retained our services to provide ongoing support and assistance in the management of their environmental affairs. As part of our environmental management and auditing services, we have undertaken:
• Risk Assessments and interaction with licensing and enforcement authorities.
• Preparation of applications for environmental licenses and permits.
• Establishing control and documentation systems.
• Environmental Auditing and Training.
• Environmental Monitoring.
• Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control.
• Developing and installing Environmental Management Systems.