2013

Occupational Hygiene – The science of managing workplace health hazards

Date: 04 September 2013

Occupational Hygiene (OH) is the science of preventing ill health in the workplace .Ill-health can take several years to develop and the effects may not be immediately evident, particularly when compared with more obvious safety risks. OH professionals are trained to protect workers, through recognising, evaluating and controlling the risks of workplace hazards. OH plays important role in managing health as well as safety in the workplace.

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To meet this need, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Workplace Safety & Health Council (WSHC) have jointly developed the OH Professionals Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Framework. This aims to train and develop competent and motivated OH professionals who can support industry with these skills. The Specialist Diploma in Occupational Hygiene (SDOH); a 340 hours training course is designed to train OH Officers (OHO).  OHOs with extensive experience and qualified academic credentials can further advance their career to become certified occupational hygienists.

Professional recognition is also important. The Occupational & Environmental Health Society (Singapore national association member of the International Occupational Hygiene Association) launched their Occupational Hygiene Accreditation Framework on 31st August 2013.  Mr. Tan Kia Tang, (Deputy Director, OSH Department-MOM), speaking at the launch said that at least 250 certified occupational hygienists and 2000 OHOs will be required by year 2018 to support Singapore industries. Currently there are less than 30 of these professionals in Singapore. The accreditation scheme will commence early next year. 

Occupational Hygienists and OHOs will be working closely with registered WSH Officers to assist employers on better managing workplace safety and health hazards. With these dedicated professionals, Singapore will take another step toward the journey of excellence in workplace safety and health.  

 

Zephan Chan, Head of Occuaptional Hygiene, IOM Singapore

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