Ask the average person on the street what a “Certified Industrial Hygienist” is and you will likely get a blank stare followed by some comment about big toothbrushes. The truth is, most people have no idea what a CIH is let alone what they do. As an industrial hygienist, you have an opportunity to educate people everyday about the profession and help everyone realize the important role you play in ensuring workplace health and safety. If you are not sure yourself how to summarize the profession in a way that is easy for others to understand, the information below may be helpful.
Industrial Hygienist can be thought of as “exposure scientists” that focus on protecting the health of employees in the workplace. Industrial Hygienist evaluate both physical and chemical exposures that may have a negative impact on employees. When most individuals walk into an industrial facility they might notice that it is loud or that there is a “funny” odor in the air. It is the role of the industrial hygienist to determine how loud it really is, and what effect that might have on employees, or to identify the chemical causing the odor and evaluate if it is hazardous. Industrial Hygienist play an important role in most major industries, private consulting firms, healthcare institutions, and even state and federal governments.
So what does it mean to be “certified”? The designation of CIH is the highest level a mastery an Industrial Hygienist can receive. To obtain the CIH designation, an individual must meet several professional criteria including a minimum number of years experience and education. Prior to receiving a CIH, an individual must prove their technical competency by also passing a difficult comprehensive examination known as the CIH exam. The CIH exam is prepared and given by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, or ABIH. Many people may “say” that they are an Industrial Hygienist, but it is the CIH certification that sets the professionals apart!
So what is a “Certified Industrial Hygienist”? It is a technical professional that has proven their competency and is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of employees in the workplace. It is also a very rewarding career that is high in demand!