MSc Occupational Hygiene / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
Module 4: Hazardous Substances

Unit code POPH63180
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This unit continues with the theme of hazardous substances as introduced in the unit Health and Workability MEDN68940. It provides an overview of the circumstances where exposure to inorganic compounds may and provides an indication of the range of exposures, by industrial process, job and work task. The unit also deals with the processes involved in air sampling, exposure modelling and sample analysis.

Aims

This unit aims to identify workplace and other factors which influence exposure to airborne dusts and fumes, and identify hazardous substances that can be produced during manufacturing processes.  It also explains where air sampling fits into occupational hygiene practice and provides the student with the ability to recognise the characteristics of different sampling and measuring instruments.  An awareness of the general principles of collection of exposure data and the application of the standard monitoring strategies is also provided.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes intend to:

  • Provide the students with a sound understanding of the influence of process, job and task on exposure.
  • Provide an awareness of the linkages between sources, exposure and dose.
  • Allow the student to recognise the industrial processes where exposure to inorganic materials is likely to occur and understand the main environmental determinants of exposure in these processes.
  • Provide an understanding of the principles of measuring airborne concentrations of dust, gases and vapours.
  • Ensure the student recognises the importance of quality assurance in air sampling.
  • Provide knowledge of deterministic models used for inhalation exposure.
  • Give the student the ability to recognise which methods are appropriate for specific airborne contaminants.
  • Provide an understanding of the procedures involved in setting regulatory limits (and assigning associated notations) and biological limits.

Syllabus

  • Factors in Dust Exposure
  • Exposure in Manufacturing Processes
  • Air Sampling
  • Exposure Evaluation/Exposure Modelling
  • Sample Analysis
  • Occupational Exposure for Airborne Substances

Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered through a blend of written materials in electronic format (PDFs) and interactive teaching material, supported by a tutorial.  The unit is assessed summatively via a 1-hour examination of essay style questions.

Knowledge and understanding

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Recognise the higher risks associated with poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Understand how the size selection criteria for inhalable, thoracic and respirable dust are defined.
  • Appreciate why it is appropriate to use size selective samplers which conform to these criteria.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the strategies for dealing with inorganic materials in the work environment.
  • Understand the principal effects of inorganic materials on the body and how they affect the assessment of exposure.
  • Understand the important properties which determine exposure to fumes and other aerosols.
  • Show an awareness of the principles of measuring airborne concentrations of dust, gases and vapours.
  • Understand the principles of calibration.

 

Intellectual skills

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Understand the linkages between sources, exposure and dose.
  • Demonstrate the ability to solve problems and make decisions about occupational hygiene issues.
  • Analyse and evaluate the relevant medical and scientific literature relating to occupational health practice.
  • Make informed comparisons between various national limit setting systems.
  • Appreciate the method of modifying limits to accommodate variable working conditions and mixed exposures.

Practical skills

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Develop policies on occupational health topics that are evidence based.
  • Suggest strategies for dealing with inorganic materials in the work environment.
  • Know how to calculate, interpret and report data.
  • Know how to allow for the effect of respiratory protective equipment when collecting exposure data.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Independently gather, organise and evaluate data from a variety of sources and develop an evidence-based approach to occupational hygiene practice.
  • Understand the influence of a wide range of factors when negotiating with others within the field of occupational health.
  • Be able to integrate knowledge of health, legislation, and business in the management of work-related issues affecting both individuals and groups.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will be able to analyse and evaluate the relevant medical and scientific literature relating to occupational health practice.
Project management
Students will be able to independently gather, organise and evaluate data from a variety of sources and develop an evidence-based approach to occupational hygiene practice.
Oral communication
Students will be able to understand the influence of a wide range of factors when negotiating with others within the field of occupational health.
Problem solving
Students will be able to able to integrate knowledge of health, legislation, and business in the management of work-related issues affecting both individuals and groups.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

  • Formative assessments with automatic feedback are available throughout the unit as an aid to understanding the course materials.
  • Feedback on summative assessments is provided following ratification of results by the Examination Board.
  • A web-conference tutorial involving small group teaching provides immediate feedback to students.

Recommended reading

  • American Industrial Hygiene Association.  The occupational Environment: its evaluation, control and management 3rd ed.  AIHA Press 2010. ISBN 9781935082156.  
  • Cherrie J, Howie R, Semple S. Monitoring for Health Hazards at Work 4th ed. Wiley-Blackwell 2010. ISBN-10: 1405159626, ISBN-13: 978-1405159623.
  • Gardiner K, Harrington JM. Occupational hygiene.  Blackwell Publishing 2005. ISBN 1405106212.
  • BOHS Technical Guide Series No. 15 on Direct-Reading Devices for Airborne and Surface Chemical Contaminants 3rd ed. November 2012.
  • BOHS Guide to Report Writing: Clear and concise report writing: guidance for occupational hygienists. 2011.
  • HSE. MDHS 14/3: General methods for sampling and gravimetric analysis of respirable and inhalable dust.  MDHS 14/3, HSE Books 2000. ISBN 0717617491.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1
Tutorials 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 147

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Adrian Hirst Unit coordinator

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