Introduction As every 15 s a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease, and every 15 s 153 workers have a work-related accident, the need for more occupational hygiene in the workplace does not need to be discussed. Organisations increasingly seek professionals who can catalyse the processes of promoting and creating a coherent safety culture in the workplace, but it is not always easy to find professionals with the right skills. Looking at the world map, we learn that there is a shortage of competent occupational/industrial hygiene practitioners in Africa, Asia, East Europe and the Middle East. Besides that, there is a restriction on the availability of suitable training in these areas, and particularly on practical training.
Methods Since it is IOHA’s mission to enhance the international network of occupational hygiene associations that promotes, develops and improves occupational hygiene worldwide, providing a safe and healthy working environment for all, IOHA felt the need to support a group of experienced hygienists of some multinationals, who took the initiative to set up a training program focused on bringing practical ‘hands on’ training to those areas in the world where growing occupational hygiene is most needed.
Result The Occupational Hygiene Training Association’s (OHTA) – OHLearning.com – started in 2010 and currently has eight courses that can be followed. There is one principles course and seven intermediate courses. Translation of courses is in nine languages. OHTA and IOHA are working together to provide formal recognition of the qualifications delivered by the OHTA training programs.
Discussion OHLearning provides a common occupational hygiene training and career ladder, and facilitates mobility through internationally recognised qualifications. Seven years on, the training is accepted as one of the routes to meeting educational requirements for professional accreditations. This presents some good steps on the road to meet the future needs of occupational hygiene.