In my 30-year experience of occupational hygiene I have contributed to improving people's working conditions. To see people happier at work is the most satisfying part of our job."
Danilo CotticaIOHA President • With Sharann Johnson - Past President Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists and Ariel Luo
Many universities and colleges provide specialist occupational hygiene consultancy services and may have access to advance measurement and analysis technologies
Universities and colleges may:
- Carry out research into health hazards, measurement techniques or control methods
- Teach undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and lecture to doctors, nurses, safety officers, engineers etc, as a subsidiary subject
- Conduct occupational hygiene investigations within the university and sometimes externally as consultants
The career structure of lecturer, senior lecturer and professor is the same as for other university functions.
The qualified occupational hygienist teaches, conducts research and offers consultancy within the university or college.
Roles for OH in Higher Education
Teaching occupational hygiene
- Universities and colleges deliver both Bachelor and Masters taught programmes in occupational hygiene. The Bachelor programmes are generally similar to the OHTA intermediate level qualification and the Masters programmes would normally equate to the advanced level in the OHTA qualification structure.
- Many other taught programmes in universities, such as occupational safety and health, occupational health and occupational medicine will have an occupational hygiene component.
- The knowledge and skills held by university-based occupational hygienists provides a resource for the design and delivery of bespoke and specialist occupational hygiene courses. Universities also deliver occupational hygiene degrees in wide range of modes calling on a range of skills from the academic hygienist.
- Flexible course structures are offered. As well as traditional full-time courses, institutes use a range of part-time, mixed mode, block release and distance learning approaches to delivery. Distance learning courses such as the University of Greenwich’s Bachelor and Masters international programmes allow students to study in their home countries where local university programmes are not available. Such programmes require the academic hygienist to approach the subject from an international perspective.
Conducting research programmes
- Small scale research projects carried out by Bachelor and Masters students - many of these types of projects are work-place based and give the student an insight into occupational hygiene problems in the real world
- More substantial research carried out by doctorate students - this research will often look at the fundamental issues concerning the occupational hygiene discipline
- Personal research carried out by academic staff in areas of specific interest
- Contract research funded by government agencies or industry
Offering consulting advice
Many academic hygienists will have spent time working in industry. They have considerable knowledge and expertise in specific areas and will offer consultancy services. Some universities will offer a general commercial consultancy service to industry and others will offer very specialised consultancy services.
The academic hygienist may be called upon to provide support in internal occupational health or occupational safety services within the university.
Academic structures will vary by country but a newly qualified occupational hygienist may be employed initially as a lecturer whereas a senior professional occupational hygienist may enter as associate or full professor.
Accreditation of courses
Universities and colleges often have close links with national professional bodies and deliver programmes of study that are either accredited or linked to national professional qualifications. Information on such courses can be found on the national associations websites.
Some national organisations, such as the BOHS Faculty of Occupational Hygiene, offer an accreditation facility for university courses in countries that do not have a national organization able to provide this facility.
Anechoic chamber in use for testing
Universities may have access to sophisticated analysis and testing equipment.
Examples of specialized courses offered
The mining industry (developed by the University of Wollongong in Australia)
The pharmaceutical industry (being developed by the University of Manchester in the UK).