What’s in a name? Occupational Hygiene: Is it time for a rebrand?

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One of the reasons why Kate started this blog was to raise the profile of occupational hygiene amongst uses of social media and possibly the younger generation who are thinking about new careers. Occupational Hygiene or Industrial Hygiene is often not recognised as the profession it actually is. I am sure most Occupational Hygienists agree that if we received a gold coin for every time someone didn’t know what we do then we would all be putting the leprechaun’s out of business.

But what is in the name really? Do we make a bigger thing of it than we need to? Should we be just focussing on making our skills known to a wider community? Should we be making sure that governments, trade bodies, organisations, senior managers, workers and even the public know what we do and the value it brings? Is a name important or is it the results that matter most?

Back in 2012 two of my colleagues and senior peers Andy Gillies and Adrian Hirst debated this in an article for the Journal Occupational Health at Work 2012; 9 (2): 30-31. The title What’s in a name? Occupational Hygiene: is it time for a rebrand? Helps show both sides of this predicament we find ourselves in as professionals.

Both authors state a good case and I ask you to make your own mind up as to what you think but I am sure you will agree that it’s what we do that matters and not what we are called, however we do need an identity, there you go I am still undecided.

It the UK there are around 1-million people who suffer from some form of work related ill-health, the latest stats from the UK HSE say that 12,000 people died last year of work related ill health. So there still in a great need for occupational / industrial hygienists. Let’s persuade people to see value in what we do and then they will know who we are. The decision is yours!

One thought on “What’s in a name? Occupational Hygiene: Is it time for a rebrand?

    Tamara said:
    July 29, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I have to admit I havnt read the paper- however I truly believe and have done so since I first heard about occupational hygiene that the name needs to change. Hygiene- lets face it sounds like a toilet cleaner, and the fact that I have been asked about changing the ladies sanitary bins and enquiries about hand washing at work says a lot! I generally refer to myself as a health advisor or occupational health specialist.

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