Confined space safety, hazards in the oil and gas industry and how workers compensation exposure data can be useful to the safety profession were among the top industrial hygiene stories of 2018.


Level of soot particles in diesel exhaust varies on oil & gas worksites

November 28, 2018

On oil and gas worksites, diesel engines power machines ranging from drilling rigs to high-powered hydraulic fracturing pumps, to generators and lighting equipment. The diesel exhaust from these engines, however, is a toxic mix of chemicals that includes small particles of carbon, or soot, which can be accidentally inhaled.

Inside NIOSH:

Workers’ comp could provide valuable research info

November 26, 2018

When thinking of workers’ compensation insurance, we typically think of the money and other benefits provided to workers injured on the job. When public health researchers think of this same insurance, they may also see a potential opportunity to learn more information about work-related health and safety hazards.

Many oil & gas workers risk hydrogen sulfide overexposure

Continuous air monitoring by a qualified person is required

November 5, 2018

A 46-year-old hockey-playing oilfield worker nearly died last December connecting a hose to a valve at a rural Saskatchewan production operation in February, 2014. His face was sprayed with a mix of gas, water and oil. He inhaled and swallowed it.

Increased oil field activity = housing shortages & traffic hazards

November 5, 2018

As oil field-related jobs draw people to Reeves County, Texas, owners of one RV park receive up to 30 inquiries per day. “It is a big problem to find housing here,” said one of the owners. “It’s either extremely expensive, or mostly it’s just not available.”

Safety professionals, industrial hygienists

AIHA releases updated lists of OEHS consultants

October 18, 2018

The American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) has released the updated Consultants Listing, a searchable print and online directory of its consultant members. Users can search for industrial hygienists and other occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) professionals by state and specialty. This list is free of charge for the public and provides users with access to 370 companies who specialize in over 32 OEHS practice areas. 

Why you need an industrial hygienist along during OSHA site sampling

Dan Markiewicz, MS, CIH, CSP, CHMM

October 16, 2018

An OSHA health compliance officer (an industrial hygienist -- IH) recently put me in an ethical dilemma. While conducting “side-by-side” air sampling as the employer’s representative during an OSHA inspection, I observed that the OSHA IH was not sampling for asbestos correctly.

Preventing battery acid & anhydrous ammonia exposures

Don’t risk nasty exposures

Samantha Hoch

October 9, 2018

From the oil industry to mining, agriculture to research, any working environment that puts employees in close proximity to occupational hazards such as potentially harmful chemicals must make workplace safety a priority. The food processing and packing industries are no exception.

Hearing protection purchasing & usage

Exclusive study by Clear Seas Research

Benita Mehta

October 8, 2018

The study, by Clear Seas Research, was conducted to understand the PPE hearing market by identifying brand usage, exploring important attributes of brand selection for PPE and identifying purchase process trends. 

Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) in Washington, DC in September 2018.

Going wireless with gas detection

Ask these questions to select the system that works best

Josh Futrell

August 30, 2018

Almost every homeowner has a toolbox filled with trusted tools to help get the job done. Tools that are reliable, and trusted to perform time and time again. Tools that are easy to use and don’t require instruction manuals. The same is true for safety professionals who keep people safe.

Have questions about OSHA’s silica standard for construction?

OSHA has FAQs, video

August 23, 2018

OSHA has put together a new set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and training videos on the agency’s standard for respirable crystalline silica in construction.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

Beyond determining compliance: How can workers’ compensation insurers’ exposure data be improved and used?

Taylor Shockey MPH Steve Wurzelbacher PhD Libby L. Moore PhD

August 15, 2018

The workers’ compensation system can be used for more than processing work-related illness or injury insurance claims. The data collected through this system provide valuable information to identify how these injuries and illnesses happen, so that they can be prevented.

Intelligence as a safety & health metric

Smart workers may think they outfox risks

Dan Markiewicz, MS, CIH, CSP, CHMM

August 3, 2018

IQ may be a predictor of who suffers an injury or illness at work. A 68-year population study published in 20171 found that IQ is inversely associated with all major causes of death, including accidents.


Assess job sites for unexpected confined spaces

Deceptive spaces

Chris Irwin

July 26, 2018

A work environment may not seem like a confined space at first glance, but the surprising truth is that confined spaces exist in many forms. They are found in nearly every industry. Without a doubt, confined spaces expose workers to very real dangers.

Heroes™ series.

Toxicity can kill: Monitoring gases, even oxygen, is crucial

Josie Larsen

July 19, 2018

Inhalation of toxic gases can kill you. It’s important that you perpetually monitor your breathing air to ensure that you and your employees are breathing air that is safe and free of such gases all the time.

How the oil and gas industry handles high risks

No guarantees

Ryan Milford

July 16, 2018

If anything has come to define the human experience throughout history, it is a willingness to take risks, to face the unknown with a confidence that borders on arrogance and come out the victor.

Know why and how incidents occur to reduce confined space danger

Creating safer spaces


July 13, 2018

Confined spaces such as tanks, containers and shafts represent a major danger. The good news is that you can significantly reduce the risks involved by understanding these environments and measuring air quality — before entering them. Here’s what you need to know.

Home Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) assessments present challenges

Today’s indoor generation

Dan Markiewicz, MS, CIH, CSP, CHMM

July 5, 2018

We are the indoor generation. The EPA’s National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS) conducted 1992-1994 found that Americans spend about 87% of their time in enclosed buildings and about 6% of their time in enclosed vehicles.

Control exposure & hydration to prevent heat-related illnesses

Summer Meltdown

Alsie Nelson

June 1, 2018

On average, excessive heat causes 650 deaths in the United States every year. Thirty-nine of those took place on the job in 2016 – double the amount that occurred only two years prior.

Control refrigerant gas in HVAC mechanical equipment rooms

Detecting & reducing Toxic Leaks

Natalie Silva

May 31, 2018

The safety industry has worked diligently over the past decade to improve the effectiveness of refrigerant, toxic and combustible gas sensors. The latest digital technologies have been employed at the sensor and systems levels to add greater intelligence and communications capabilities.

Cover Story

8 practices for managing chemical exposures

May 9, 2018

If there’s no occupational exposure limit (OEL) listed for a chemical ingredient or byproduct in a SDS, you can conduct an online search for the chemical by CAS number and include the qualifier DNEL — derived no effect levels. CAS is required on an SDS, DNEL is not.

A critical performance check: Bump testing your gas detector

Bryan Szczur

May 3, 2018

You wouldn’t drive a vehicle without putting on your seat belt. You wouldn’t ride a bike without putting on a helmet. You don’t go to bed at night without locking your doors. When it comes to gas detection, safe and simple practices like these are no different.