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Health & Safety Network Conservation Wiki

Copyright: 2021. The Health & Safety Wiki pages are a publication of the Health & Safety Network of the American Institute for Conservation.

Some of the information included on this wiki may be out of date, particularly with regard to toxicological data and regulatory standards. Also, because new information on safety issues is continually published, resources outside of AIC should be consulted for more specific information.

Contributors: Kerith Koss Schrager



Working with Health & Safety Professionals[edit | edit source]

Some services may be of little or no cost:

  • local fire departments,
  • county environmental protection agencies (e.g., for hazardous waste disposal questions),
  • your facility’s insurance company.
  • Free OSHA On-Site Consultation offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country for program development, exposure sampling, and training. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement. OSHA started this program in response to small business complaints that they want to provide a safe workplace if only they knew how to (like small conservation labs and museums it is hard to hire lawyers and safety professionals to explain how to comply with all regulations). No citations or penalties are issued and the only agreed obligation is to work with them on ways to correct serious hazards, a reasonable commitment for anyone.


Be prepared to discuss:

  • Your specific work activities, materials, tools and methods.
  • Detailed description of task duration and frequency (i.e., how many hours per work day, how intermittent the work is during a day, and how often per week is the work performed).
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS) or records of past treatment chemicals or inherent hazards
  • Any suspected exposures, symptoms or findings of concerns you may have.
  • Preventive measures in place, fume hoods, HEPA vacuums, PPE, work area & storage cleaning schedules.
  • Previous work, home (hobbies) and environmental exposures (particularly important to physicians).
  • Any available analytical data, such as x-ray fluorescence or radiation surveys.
  • If testing of the object or specimen is necessary to identify the presence of chemical, radiological, or biological hazard in a collection, the IH must be asked to detail the methods and materials they plan to use so that any restrictions can be resolved.

Types of Safety Professionals[edit | edit source]

Every specialist will have some kind of professional benchmarks that are required of their field. Look for evidence of that they are active within their profession such as continuing education and ongoing presentations and publishing.

Occupational Safety[edit | edit source]

An Occupational Safety Professional (e.g., CSP, Certified Safety Professional) can manage an overall safety program. They focus on preventing injuries with emphasis on physical hazards (electrical, mechanical, hazardous and combustible materials, fall protection, working at heights, power tools, confined spaces). CSPs are also experienced in emergency management, fire protection, and training and will have cross-over experience in industrial hygiene monitoring.

Fire Protection[edit | edit source]

Fire protection engineers (e.g., PE, Professional Engineer) can assist with more comprehensive building design and asset protection plan needs. Engineers will be skilled at designing and inspecting fire detection and prevention systems based upon complex life safety and building codes (National Fire Protection Association among others) regulating flammable or combustible liquid storage, egress and exits, etc.

Industrial Hygiene[edit | edit source]

Industrial Hygienists (e.g., CIH, Certified Industrial Hygienist) are a specialized group, usually with backgrounds in the biological, chemical and physical sciences, with experience in ventilation and acoustical engineering, and focus on prevention of diseases or other health hazards arising from the workplace. Seek the assistance from an IH to evaluate inhalation, or dermal exposures from chemicals, noise, biohazards, particulates and fibers. An IH can provide more detailed engineering system design recommendations and specialized training in PPE for health hazard control, like respirators and gloves.

Health Physics/Radiation[edit | edit source]

Radiation safety is a specialty for some IHs. But with lasers and ionizing radiation sources and analytical instruments, consider the experience of a Health physicist (e.g., CHP, Certified Health Physicist) who is skilled by education and experience to specialize in radiological hazard detection and protection.

Occupational Medicine[edit | edit source]

Occupational medicine is a specialized field, usually obtained through a Master’s program in public health after an MD is earned. Every facility needs to have some relationship with a medical clinic that has knowledge of industrial illness and injury prevention, surveillance and treatment. There are many regulatory required medical certification exams such as Department of Transportation driver’s exams, respirator certifications, and fitness for duty exams (example: ability to lift certain amount of weight).

Environmental Science/Health/Protection[edit | edit source]

Environmental protection is a broad area, usually requiring a minimum B.S. in environmental science, environmental or public health. States may require licensure for certain activities, such as radon monitoring. A facility will want to contact these specialists in a county or state agency for reasons of hazardous waste disposal, or advice on proper spill and leak control measures, or permitting for underground storage tanks, for example. Hazardous waste disposal firms would not be the first contractor to pick. Talk with an environmental protection specialist first, either in a university or agency or in county offices

Facilities with Environmental, Health and Safety staff[edit | edit source]

  • Governmental units (such as National Park Service, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Defense or Smithsonian Institution) with historical parks and displays, galleries, and museums
  • Academic institutions (e.g., state universities) with archives, libraries, onsite museums and collecting units in their teaching departments

Government Agencies[edit | edit source]

Public health and safety regulatory agencies in countries around the world also offer complete program development and worker training resources:

  • U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
  • UK Health and Safety Executive.

Professional Organizations[edit | edit source]

Professional organizations world-wide with technical information and listings for consultants, experts and clinicians, include:

General[edit | edit source]

  • International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations

Industrial/Occupational Hygiene[edit | edit source]

Occupational Safety[edit | edit source]

Radiation Safety[edit | edit source]

  • Health Physics Society

Occupational Medicine Clinics and Practitioners[edit | edit source]

  • American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics