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Career profile Industrial Hygienist

Also known as Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH); Chemical Hygiene Officer; Environmental Health and Safety Officer; Environmental, Health, and Safety Officer (EHS Officer); Industrial Hygienist; Industrial Hygienist Consultant; Safety Consultant; Safety Management Consultant; Safety Officer; Safety Specialist

Industrial Hygienist

Also known as Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH); Chemical Hygiene Officer; Environmental Health and Safety Officer; Environmental, Health, and Safety Officer (EHS Officer); Industrial Hygienist; Industrial Hygienist Consultant; Safety Consultant; Safety Management Consultant; Safety Officer; Safety Specialist

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
  • Social
Pay Range
$44,710 - $112,850 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Education and Training
  • Chemistry
  • Public Safety and Security
Core tasks
  • Recommend measures to help protect workers from potentially hazardous work methods, processes, or materials.
  • Order suspension of activities that pose threats to workers' health or safety.
  • Investigate accidents to identify causes or to determine how such accidents might be prevented in the future.
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What does an Industrial Hygienist do?

Industrial Hygienists review, evaluate, and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors.

In addition, Industrial Hygienists

  • may conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals,
  • may be employed in the public or private sector.

What kind of tasks does an Industrial Hygienist perform regularly?

Industrial Hygienists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Recommend measures to help protect workers from potentially hazardous work methods, processes, or materials.
  • Order suspension of activities that pose threats to workers' health or safety.
  • Investigate accidents to identify causes or to determine how such accidents might be prevented in the future.
  • Inspect or evaluate workplace environments, equipment, or practices to ensure compliance with safety standards and government regulations.
  • Collaborate with engineers or physicians to institute control or remedial measures for hazardous or potentially hazardous conditions or equipment.
  • Develop or maintain hygiene programs, such as noise surveys, continuous atmosphere monitoring, ventilation surveys, or asbestos management plans.
  • Coordinate "right-to-know" programs regarding hazardous chemicals or other substances.
  • Conduct safety training or education programs and demonstrate the use of safety equipment.
  • Collect samples of dust, gases, vapors, or other potentially toxic materials for analysis.
  • Analyze incident data to identify trends in injuries, illnesses, accidents, or other hazards.
  • Investigate the adequacy of ventilation, exhaust equipment, lighting, or other conditions that could affect employee health, comfort, or performance.
  • Investigate health-related complaints and inspect facilities to ensure that they comply with public health legislation and regulations.
  • Collect samples of hazardous materials or arrange for sample collection.
  • Maintain or update emergency response plans or procedures.
  • Provide new-employee health and safety orientations and develop materials for these presentations.
  • Inspect specified areas to ensure the presence of fire prevention equipment, safety equipment, or first-aid supplies.
  • Maintain inventories of hazardous materials or hazardous wastes, using waste tracking systems to ensure that materials are handled properly.
  • Develop or maintain medical monitoring programs for employees.
  • Conduct audits at hazardous waste sites or industrial sites or participate in hazardous waste site investigations.
  • Perform laboratory analyses or physical inspections of samples to detect disease or to assess purity or cleanliness.
  • Prepare hazardous, radioactive, or mixed waste samples for transportation or storage by treating, compacting, packaging, and labeling them.

The above responsibilities are specific to Industrial Hygienists. More generally, Industrial Hygienists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

What is an Industrial Hygienist salary?

The median salary for an Industrial Hygienist is $76,340, and the average salary is $78,110. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Industrial Hygienist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Industrial Hygienists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Industrial Hygienists earn less than $44,710 per year, 25% earn less than $58,820, 75% earn less than $95,190, and 90% earn less than $112,850.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Industrial Hygienists is expected to change by 6.9%, and there should be roughly 7,800 open positions for Industrial Hygienists every year.

Median annual salary
$76,340
Typical salary range
$44,710 - $112,850
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
6.9%

What personality traits are common among Industrial Hygienists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Industrial Hygienist are usually higher in their Investigative, Conventional, and Social interests.

Industrial Hygienists typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Industrial Hygienists typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Industrial Hygienists typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Industrial Hygienists typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Industrial Hygienist tend to value Support, Working Conditions, and Independence.

Most importantly, Industrial Hygienists strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Industrial Hygienists strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Industrial Hygienists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Industrial Hygienists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, cooperation, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Industrial Hygienists, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

What education and training do Industrial Hygienists need?

Many Industrial Hygienists will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Industrial Hygienists usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Industrial Hygienists

  • 1.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 16.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 19.8% completed some college coursework
  • 9.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 35.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 14.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Industrial Hygienists

Industrial Hygienists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as education and training, chemistry, or public safety and security knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Industrial Hygienists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Industrial Hygienists

Industrial Hygienists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Industrial Hygienists need abilities such as inductive reasoning, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Industrial Hygienists, ranked by their relative importance.

Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Industrial Hygienists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Industrial Hygienists frequently use skills like speaking, complex problem solving, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Industrial Hygienists, ranked by their relative importance.

Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.