Air Monitoring is really simple?

Not really, it is a real gift to understand how difficult another profession is. There is nothing simple about measuring the things that can injure or harm people. The risk of a bad measurement is obvious. Get it wrong and somebody gets hurt and the employer is liable. Worker air monitoring is required by OSHA, the correct tests and methods are specified by OSHA and NIOSH. Your CIH has studied for at least five years just to be able to take the CIH examination, you should rely on your CIH to do the correct tests and interpret the results. Worker health is not a trivial issue, and neither is measuring the worker’s work environment .

Can’t I just go to some Lab and get the equipment and do the work myself?

Yes there is a lab that will rent or loan you equipment, but when you consider any self done documentation can be questioned.  You will need to carefully follow the NIOSH or OSHA guidelines and be very thorough with you documentation.  This is not a simple task your goal is to make certain that your workers are not exposed to hazardous chemicals. And you want to have documentation that will stand up in the legal system. The best plan is to have a CIH conduct your evaluation and your air monitoring.

Please Explain level of detection (LOD)
Level of detection is the laboratory or the laboratory method limit.  At the LOD a laboratory is saying "We did not find anything, but we can only see to this level."  Think of it like this:  If you had avery deep well and you wanted to know how deep it was you would need a long string with a weight on the end.  You could lower the string until you felt the weight hit the bottom.  But if the well was very deep and you did not have string long enough to reach the bottom you could only say "The well is deeper than my string, my string is fifty feet long, so the LOD for my well is fifty feet.".  LOD is determind by many factors, laboratoy analytical accuracy, sample duration, and the method itself.

How much monitoring is needed?

Your CIH will be able to develop an evaluation. NIOSH methods and OSHA regulations have some specific requirements for some processes. Your CIH can recommend specific tests, air monitoring, biological monitoring or physical evaluations that best meet the requirements of your enterprise. A CIH has the qualifications and experience to develop a testing plan that provides you with the most information and determines the exposure potential for your employees. When you go to a Physician do not tell them what tests to run, your doctor will conduct tests to diagnose your complaint. In the same manner your CIH will be able to appropriately test and diagnose worker exposure for you.


If I do testing and find something, wouldn’t I have been better off not knowing?

Not at all, as an employer you are required to know that the workplace you provide is safe and healthful. In regards to worker safety and health, an empolyer's ignorance of hazards or the law is a violation in itself. It is always easier to pro-actively correct a problem than to attempt to repair the problem after it has happened.


9/3/2011© Dan Napier, CIH

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