The Do-It-Yourself Occupational Exposure Database

Should I build or buy?


Presented at the 2000 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition

Orlando, FL

May 25, 2000

Copyright 2000, Joe Tudor

Joe Tudor, CIH, CSP

Albemarle Corporation

P.O. Box 729

Magnolia, AR 71754-0729










The Challenge







Development Steps

No Corporate Standard in place; gathered personal sheets from each hygienist



Later Steps



Do-It-Yourself Advantages

Could be used to include report formats, new data fields, international accommodations, new data types (qualitative evaluations, IAQ, etc.), statistical analyses, etc.

Do-It-Yourself Disadvantage




Commercial Database Packages



Developing In-House With I.T.



Can you operate over a network?

Can you control multiple users at one time?

Is speed of access a problem over the network?

Will the database interface with other, existing software on your system?

Can you connect to and exchange data with handhelds?

Can you maintain confidentiality over the network?

Can you control access to the data? At what levels (read, write, edit, delete, etc.)

The more people with access, the more control you need (more people = more junk such as bad data, poor data, duplicate entries, inconsistent descriptions for chemicals or job titles)

How do you prevent deletion of historical data, especially obsolete job titles?

Data types – gravimetric and fibrous dusts

Physical hazards - noise, radiation, heat stress, vibration, ergonomic exposures

Samples passing through midnight (will database correctly calculate sample time?)

Results from direct reading instruments (dosimeters, detector tubes, etc.)

How does database handle Ceiling and STEL samples?

How many consecutive samples can you include for a single shift TWA?

Can you manually over-ride calculated fields?

What kind of identifiers are used for workstations or sample locations? Do they match your company’s standard identifiers?

If you have international operations, how does the database identify those employees (Social Security number fields typically don’t work well in foreign locations)

Does the database contain at least all of the basic elements recommended by the AIHA/ACGIH Occupational Exposure Database Task Group?



OEDTG Core Elements


"Data Elements for Occupational Exposure Databases: Guidelines and Recommendations for Airborne Hazards and Noise," Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 11(11), November 1996, pp 1294-1311



And Finally...


Bill Horton, Dateline Houston, Newsletter of the Houston Chapter of the Society of Technical Communication, February 1984.