MSc Occupational Hygiene / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
Module 5: Understanding Physical Agents (Occupational Hygiene)

Unit code POPH68920
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This unit covers specific physical hazards found in the workplace and their effects on health, including noise, vibration, radiation, environmental temperatures (heat and cold), raised atmospheric pressures and lighting conditions.

Aims

The aim of this unit is to build on the information provided within earlier units, particularly Introduction to Hazards, Risks and the Working Environment MEDN68870. The unit should also enable the hygiene practitioner to apply principles of risk management to a range of physical hazards that may be encountered in the workplace, and provides detailed information on how these physical agents can be measured and controlled. The unit also enforces the importance of multidisciplinary team working within an organisational context.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes intend to:

  •  Provide an understanding of the effects of noise on hearing and health, and the concept of hearing impairment and its assessment.
  • Enable participants to acquire knowledge about vibration and its effects on health; including hand-arm and whole-body vibration.
  • Provide an understanding of ionising and non- ionising radiations and their biological effects.
  • Provide an overview of the mechanisms and short/long term effects of working in environments where there is increased ambient pressure.
  • Give participants an awareness of general principles relating to the effects of heat and cold on health and performance.
  • Provide an appreciation of how common causes of visual dysfunction may interfere with the ability to work, and the effects of the physical environment (lighting) on function at work.

 

 

Syllabus

  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • Radiation
  • Compressed Air Work and Commercial Diving
  • Temperature and Work
  • Light and Vision

Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered through a blend of written materials in electronic format (PDFs) and interactive teaching material, supported by 2 tutorials.  A 3-4 day campus based course covers the practical aspects relating to units 5/6/7/8, which is held at the end of Semester 1 in Year 2.  The unit is assessed summatively via a 1-hour examination of essay style questions.

 

Knowledge and understanding

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Understand how to evaluate the likely effects of physical hazards on health, and advise on their prevention and management.
  • Know about the current legislation and guidance on the control of occupational exposure in relation to physical agents.
  • Be aware of measures that can be used to control exposure of workers to physical hazards and how to protect persons against the effects of these hazards.
  • Understand the role of health surveillance for workers exposed to physical hazards.

 

Intellectual skills

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Understand the principles relating to the mechanisms and effects of physical agents on health and performance.
  • Be familiar with ways of measuring exposures to physical agents.
  • Understand how to interpret the measurements of exposures to physical agents.
  • Understand the requirement for health surveillance for workers exposed to specific physical agents.
  • Appreciate the effects of co-morbidities on fitness for work in environments where there may be exposure to physical agents.
  • Be familiar with short and long term effects of physical agents on workers and how these should be managed.

Practical skills

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Understand how environmental/workplace noise is measured, the relevance of exposure(s) to noise for individuals, and how to test/interpret audiological function.
  • Understand how environmental/workplace vibration is measured, the relevance of exposure(s) to vibration for individuals, and how to perform/interpret health surveillance on workers exposed to vibration.
  • Understand the pathology, diagnostic features and treatment of decompression illness, and the effects of co-morbidities on workers’ fitness.
  • Be familiar with how the environmental/workplace thermal environment (temperature and humidity) is assessed, physiological responses to the thermal environment, and treatment for conditions caused by the thermal environment.
  • Be familiar with how environmental/workplace lighting is assessed, how to perform/interpret health surveillance on workers’ visual function, and to advise on the effects of lighting and vision on performance.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Understand the physical environment, in terms of measurement of physical exposures and effects on health.
  • Know about health surveillance for workers exposed to physical agents and the effects of co-morbidities that can be used beyond the workplace environment.

 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will be able to understand the physical environment, in terms of measurement of physical exposures and effects on health and to interpret the measurements of exposures to physical agents.
Problem solving
Students will have a sound knowledge of the principles of health surveillance for workers exposed to physical agents and the effects of co-morbidities that can be used beyond the workplace environment.

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.

Two web-conference tutorials involving small group teaching provide 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.
  • Griffin MJ (Ed). Handbook of human vibration. London: Academic Press 1990. ISBN 0123030412
  • Parsons KC. Human thermal environments. The effects of hot, moderate, and cold environments on human health, comfort, and performance 2nd ed. London: Taylor and Francis 2003.  ISBN 0748400419.
  • Bove AA, Davis JC. Bove and Davis Diving Medicine 4th ed. Elsevier Saunders 2003. ISBN 0721694241.
  • Boyce PR.  Human factors in lighting. Barking, Applied Science Publishers: 1981.  ISBN 0853349126.

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1
Seminars 6
Tutorials 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 139

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Adrian Hirst Unit coordinator

Return to course details