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What is an Industrial Hygienist?

What is an Industrial Hygienist?

Posted by Dr. David J. Silver, B.S., M.S. Ph.D., CIH on Apr 17th 2019

An Industrial Hygienist is NOT a Dental Hygienist.

Industrial hygiene is the recognition, evaluation, and control of chemical, biological, and physical stressors to workers in the workplace and often the general public. Industrial hygiene is a technical facet of safety and requires years of higher education and experience to gain competency in the field. Among Industrial Hygienists, many have earned bachelor’s degrees, master’s, and doctorates directly or indirectly in specific study of the field.

Education and Experience

Industrial hygiene is a lot more than just air monitoring, asbestos consulting, or being an indoor air quality expert. These tasks are best and often accomplished by technicians or those with a limited scope in higher education. The field covers aspects of organic chemistry, biology, physics, air sampling and analytical techniques, industrial ventilation, toxicology, noise control, engineering controls, optical microscopy, radiation both ionizing and non-ionizing, aerosols, risk assessments, biostatistics, epidemiology, ergonomics, indoor air quality, hazardous waste, and environmental science.


The American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) certifies those with the proper credentials to sit in and take the test(s). Prior to the one-day test, candidates had to sit for two days taking exams that covered base theory and comprehensive practice. Credentials include bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorates in the appropriate fields and three to five years of experience. A diplomat must maintain certification and accumulate points in a five year cycle.

Industrial Hygienist’s Role

Industrial hygienists are scientists and engineers committed to protecting the health and safety of people in the workplace and the community. Industrial hygienists are employed by private industry, governments, the military, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and research councils like NIOSH. They investigate and examine the workplace for hazards and potential dangers, make recommendations, measure and evaluate exposure data, and control the hazards through engineering or administration. Follow up is necessary to determine the effectiveness of controls. Many are involved in education and training to ensure a safe work place. Others are consultants in general industrial hygiene practice, asbestos consulting, indoor air quality, and environmental hazards. Some have narrowed down their focus to toxicologists, noise control, or engineering control specialists.

Why is this Important to You?

Many have the technical background to adequately do their jobs as assigned. The internet can be a great help for sure. However, the most important thing is the exchange of information. Local groups from the ASSE or AIHA are helpful in talking to people that have been there or seen that. With pride and our eagerness to help people, we created CIH Equipment Company, Inc. for reliable calibration services (1993) and EGas Depot for your industrial hygiene equipment needs. These entities allow me and my staff to provide ISO 17025 calibration, repairs, calibration gas, gas meters, and industrial hygiene equipment to customers like you.

Count on EGas Depot for our assortment of calibration gases, gas meters, gas meters with PIDs, sound level meters, noise dosimeters, air sampling equipment, air sampling media, heat stress monitors, and dust monitors. We offer Gas Clip, MPower, Casella, Dwyer, Calibration gas, Elk River, and Allegro products. A full line from Casella and Dwyer Industries are available at EGas Depot or call toll free at 833-264-0730.