FAQ: Occupational Hygiene

What is Occupational Hygiene (OH)?

Occupational or industrial hygiene is the science of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, controlling and preventing of work related hazards that may result in injury, illness or affect the well-being of workers. These hazards or stressors are typically divided into the categories biological, chemical, ergonomic and psychosocial. The risk of a health effect from a given stressor is calculated by multiplying the hazard with the exposure to the individual or group. A hazard can be understood by the dose-response model often based on toxicological studies or models. Occupational hygienists are considered experts in exposure science and exposure risk management, especially in the protection of workers, consumers and/or communities. To be effective, the occupational hygienist is required to co-work with other specialists in the field of work and health, e.g. occupational physicians, toxicologists, safety engineers and health managers. Common to all hygienists is a strategic, pragmatic and goal-oriented approach in their evaluations and interventions to manage health risks at work.

What is the OH specialization?

The OH specialization is one of the 2 current specializations tracks of the DAS Work+Health. It gives you all the theoretical training and practical skills to become an occupational hygienist and an interdisciplinary team player. Following the OH specialization track makes participating in all common modules (C1 to C10), all occupational hygiene modules (OH1 to OH5) and the interdisciplinary project work (C11).

What are the admission criteria?

A university degree in natural sciences, medicine or toxicology on master level. Applicants with a University degree of applied sciences are welcome too. Applicants with a bachelor degree and specific occupational experience may get enrolled as well by “sur dossier” admission. For remaining questions regarding admission, please get in contact with the program manager.

Which modules do I have to take?

To obtain the DAS Work+Health diploma specialized in OH, you participate in all common modules (C1 to C10), all OH modules (OH1 to OH5) and the final interdisciplinary project work (C11). Successfully passing these total 16 modules is mandatory to receive the DAS Work+Health diploma. There is the opportunity to take 1 additional specialization module of the other specialization meaning Occupational Medicine (OM) for free.

What do the DAS Work+Health modules comprise?

In the common modules, the generic topics of work and health are introduced. The DAS Work+Health program emphasizes that you learn from and share your skills and knowledge with your colleagues by interdisciplinary group work, discussion rounds and case studies. In the specialization modules OH1 to OH5, you visit work sites in different companies to deepen your specific knowledge and train the practical skills of an occupational hygienist. In the concluding interdisciplinary group work of C11, you work independently with two colleagues on a given project in the industry. Within this project you prove that are ready to take over the occupational hygienists’ responsibilities and efficiently work in interdisciplinary teams.

Is there a final exam?

Yes. Your part of the final C11 project work counts as the final exam. You first present your project, its results and conclusions to your fellow students, write your part of the final report and then present the project results, conclusions and recommendations to the projects’ company. You receive a final grade and extended feedback on your report.

How do I get acknowledged after passing the DAS Work+Health in OH?

Once you have successfully passed the DAS Work+Health in Occupational Hygiene, you are entitled and acknowledged as an occupational hygienist in Switzerland, please find detailed information on the SGAH/SSHT website. According to the Swiss federal ordinance, you are further recognized as a specialist for safety at work (ASA), please find detailed information on their website.

How does my DAS Work+Health diploma is recognized outside Switzerland?

After the DAS Work+Health you may be interested in the international OH accreditation of the IOHA. Here the DAS Work+Health diploma is the sound basis to opt for the IOHA exam and title.

How is the DAS Work+Health in OH useful for me?

As far as we are aware of, the DAS Work+Health is the only postgraduate program in the field of work and health providing interdisciplinary learning. The DAS Work+Health in Occupational Hygiene provides you with basic and advanced knowledge and skills to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, control and prevent hazards from work that may result in injury, illness or affect the well-being of workers. Quite unique and unlike most of the existing programs in the world, you learn, exercise and work together in interdisciplinary teams with your colleagues in the other DAS Work+Health specializations.