Environmental monitoring or management is the process of measuring and assessing workplace conditions to evaluate health risks to workers. This practice is especially important in businesses that use hazardous substances, such as heavy metals. It includes periodic health examinations of workers and environmental impact tests. The advantages of environmental monitoring include preventing occupational diseases, improving the company's public image and reducing environmental pollution.
Preventing Occupational Diseases
Environmental monitoring can reduce health hazards in the workplace. For example, the occupational disease silicosis, which affects miners, has been controlled by environmental monitoring that reduces the amount of silica dust in the air. In the chemical industry, the use of appropriate garments and gear can prevent poisoning by avoiding direct contact with heavy metals such as lead.
Improving Public Image
Americans expect companies to operate in an environmentally responsible way. Environmental monitoring helps companies demonstrate that responsibility, building public trust and credibility.This can also improve relations with regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Transparency in environmental monitoring can also help companies build relations with socially responsible investors.
Reducing Environmental Pollution
The chemical, metalworking and pharmaceutical industries can generate a great amount of hazardous waste. Environmental monitoring help to prevent the disposal of untreated residues in the soil, air or water, avoiding wildlife and human contamination. The use of biodegradable compounds is also part of an efficient environmental monitoring strategy and can reduce the contaminants in industrial waste waters.
- "Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety"; Jeanne Mager Stellman; 1998.