Background Reference Documents

Functional Requirements for IH Systems provides basic and advanced requirements one may need in a computer database system to be able to make informed exposure judgments. This database tool affords one the ability to incorporate both qualitative and quantitative assessments.

Product Exposure Modeling Toolbox was developed by volunteers with the AIHA and Product Stewardship Society. It is for use by those looking for introductory and comparative information regarding the selection, inputs, outputs and differences between models explored by the team and found to be useful in assessing exposures to humans from products. It should not be considered exhaustive, as there are many models that were explored but found to be inaccessible to the general member (fee-based, other languages, etc.), or were unwieldy or could not be validated as functional. Members are encouraged to participate in the member societies and raise awareness of new or unreviewed models to the AIHA Exposure Assessment Strategies Committee for further consideration.

IH Apps & Tools

The following software tools provide the practicing industrial hygienist with quick and easy access to the information necessary to evaluate exposure profiles and determine if the exposures are acceptable, not acceptable or if more data is needed to make the determination of acceptability. Like all software tools, the results depend on proper tool use and quality data inputs appropriate to the exposure scenario. Users are encouraged to gain expertise in specific tool use via study of the appropriate references as listed and participation in appropriate professional development courses.

Legal Disclaimer: These tools were developed by volunteers over the years. As of January 2020, AIHA has been assigned intellectual property rights to all e-tools and, as a result, is now able to enter into agreements with third parties for the production of derivative works (e.g., translations into other languages). With the assistance of legal counsel, we are now in the process of filing for copyright protection through the US Patent & Trademark Office.

TOOLS For the Practicing Industrial Hygienist

These tools are all free and are regularly updated. Several are available in multiple languages.

STEP 1: Data Collection

IH Exposure Scenario Tool (IHEST) guides the assessor through the process of collecting general information about the workplace, specific scenario and agents(s), providing cues for measuring or estimating the important determinants of exposure such as generation and ventilation rates. It also prompts the user to specify the type of engineering controls; this information is needed later when making initial judgments by applying the Qualitative Exposure Assessment Checklist (see below).

STEP 2: Basic Characterization

Basic Exposure Assessment and Sampling Spreadsheet is an Excel-based template for entering air and noise sampling data.

STEP 3: Preliminary/ Initial Exposure Assessment (Tier 1)

The Qualitative Exposure Assessment Checklist (The Checklist) requires only four readily available pieces of information: Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL); Vapor Pressure of the pure chemical (VP) when the agent is gas or vapor form; observed or reported workplace control measures (observed level of control) and required level of workplace control (required level of control). It can be applied in just a few minutes using readily available information and has been shown to be significantly more accurate than subjective intuitive judgments. The user is referred to Chapter 6 of A Strategy for Assessing and Managing Occupational Exposures, 4th edition, AIHA Press.

STEP 4: Refined Assessment (Tier 2)

  • IHMOD_2_0© is an Excel-based mathematical modelling spreadsheet similar to the previous IH Mod. 1.0 which is now obsolete. IH Mod 2.0© gives the user the choice between running the model in deterministic (point value parameters as was in IH Mod 1.0) or in Monte Carlo Simulation mode, with choices of distributions of parameter values right in MS Excel with no other software needed. An IHMOD_2_0_Support_File is also available. It includes useful information about IH Mod 2.0©, and a spreadsheet tab to estimate liquid spill pool generation rates via the Hummel-Fehrenbacher equation, a units of measure conversion tool, examples of generation rate estimation, a “Bootstrap” procedure tool, a summary of approaches to estimate ALPHA for the exponentially decreasing emission rate models, and some links to other resources. Please note that the support file is evolving and will be updated periodically with new information. Check back here for updates.
  • IHSkinPerm© is an Excel application for estimating dermal absorption. Basic knowledge of Excel is all that is needed to operate IH SkinPerm©. IH SkinPerm© is a work product of the AIHA Exposure Assessment Strategies Committee (EASC) and the Dermal Project Team (DPT) in collaboration with Wil ten Berg, author of the original SkinPerm model. Although various parameters and data outputs have been explained or defined in IH SkinPerm through comments tagged on individual fields, users are encouraged to read Chapter 13 of the Mathematical Models for Estimating Occupational Exposure to Chemicals, 2nd edition, AIHA Press, 2009, C. Keil Editor. This is a useful reference for understanding the science and terminology associated with skin permeation. Refer to the Help Manual for any questions.

STEP 5: Refining/Validating the Exposure Assessment

IHSTAT© is an Excel application that calculates a variety of exposure statistics, performs goodness of fit tests, and graphs exposure data. Multiple languages are available. The book, “A Strategy for Assessing and Managing Occupational Exposures” is intended to accompany this tool as it provides critical detail on the use and interpretation of the various statistical outputs. The links below will show you how to adjust the macros settings in your version of Excel, if needed.

Apps and digital tools from NIOSH

NIOSH Lifting Equation (08/2017) for iOS and Android: The NIOSH Lifting Equation calculator (NLE Calc) can be used to calculate the recommended weight limit (RWL) and lifting index (LI) for single or multiple lifting tasks. The LI is an index of the relative physical stress for performing a particular lifting task, while the composite LI or CLI is an index of the overall physical stress for performing multiple lifting tasks. NIOSH recommends an LI and CLI of 1 or less for protecting workers from physical stress related to development of low back disorders.

OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool (06/2017) for iOS and Android: Take precautions against outdoor heat while at work with the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool. Featuring real-time heat index and hourly forecasts, specific to your location, as well as occupational safety and health recommendations from OSHA and NIOSH. The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool is a useful resource for planning outdoor work activities.

NIOSH Pocket Guide (05/2017) download via mNPG: The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards Mobile Web App (mNPG) informs workers, employers, and occupational health professionals about workplace chemicals and their hazards. The mNPG gives general industrial hygiene information for hundreds of chemicals/classes, presenting key data for chemicals or substance groupings (such as cyanides, fluorides, manganese compounds) that are found in workplaces. The app can be used offline when no internet or cell phone connection is available.

Homecare Safety (03/2017) for iOS and Android: The CDC/NIOSH Caring for Yourself While Caring for Others Homecare Safety app serves as an electronic resource for trainers in delivering a free online seven-module safety and health training for homecare workers. This tool includes: course preparation tips, lesson plans, supplies checklists, links to free course materials including slide presentations and participant handouts, and detailed delivery instructions for each of seven safety and health modules. Designed to be flexible, trainers may choose to deliver the entire seven modules of the curriculum or select individual modules to supplement existing training programs.

Sound Level Meter (1/2017) for iOS: The NIOSH Sound Level Meter (SLM) app can be used by safety and health professionals and industrial hygienists to assess risks, similar to how they would use a professional sound level meter, and by workers to make informed decisions about the potential hazards to their hearing in the workplace. The app allows the user to acquire and display real-time noise exposure data and help promote better hearing health and better prevention efforts. The app provides a readout of the sound levels using the built-in microphone (or preferably using an external, calibrated, microphone) and reports the instantaneous sound level in A, C, or Z weighted decibels. The app also contains some basic information about noise and hearing loss prevention. In addition, the app allows the user to save and share measurement data with others using the device communication and media features.

ErgoMine (04/2016) for Android: ErgoMine is an ergonomics auditing app for Android currently available in the Google Play store. This audit tool identifies ergonomics and safety deficiencies for three types of mining operations: (1) haul truck, (2) bagging, including small bag and intermediate bulk container filling and preparation for shipment, and (3) maintenance and repair in coal preparation and minerals processing plants. Unlike most ergonomic and safety audit programs, ErgoMine provides recommendations to address all deficiencies identified by the app. Mines can then implement these targeted recommendations to improve mineworker safety.

Ladder Safety (2013) for iOS and Android: The NIOSH Ladder Safety app is intended to assist portable ladder users with their ladder-related safety needs. The easy-to-use interactive ladder safety application features a multimodal indicator, which uses visual, sound, and vibration signals to assist the user in positioning a ladder at an optimal angle. Furthermore, the application provides graphic-oriented interactive reference materials, safety guidelines and checklists for extension and step ladders selection, inspection, accessorizing, and use.​​​​​