Chemical factors in the work environment

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


To obtain detailed knowledge on chemical and biological exposure assessment in the work environment, associated health effects and preventive measures to reduce these health risks.


  • Overview of air pollution in the working atmosphere
  • Risk assessment; terminology, principles and methods
  • Sampling strategies, methods and analysis of gases, vapours and aerosols
  • Regulations on chemicals in the work environment
  • Field exercises with exposure measurements in the industry
  • Report writing
  • Dermal exposure and related health effects
  • Industrial toxicology
  • Biological measurements
  • Health effects of inhaled materials
  • Hierarchy of control measures
  • Industrial ventilation principles
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Exposure and health effects of biological factors
  • Indoor air and health

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course

the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student can:

  • outline the main chemical hazards in the industry
  • explain body uptake routes and uptake mechanisms
  • describe the toxicological mechanisms and occupational diseases in different organs recognize and explain different methods for air sampling and analysis of aerosols, fibers, gases and vapours
  • describe the hierarchy of control measures and select appropriate strategies for implementation


The student can:

  • anticipate, recognize and evaluate chemical risk factors in the industry
  • select and use appropriate methods and strategies for air sampling and biomonitoring of chemical hazards
  • give feedback (report and presentation) to the industry after exposure assessment
  • conduct risk assessment of chemical hazards
  • search for relevant literature
  • select appropriate personal protective equipment
  • plan and conduct indoor air assessments
  • use appropriate assessment methods for different classes of bio-aerosols

General competence

The student is able to:

  • integrate knowledge from different disciplines
  • promote positive interaction and collaborative relationships between the different actors within occupational health
  • demonstrate a scientific way of thinking and a critical approach to research results
  • communicate and disseminate knowledge in writing and orally about occupational health to relevant audiences

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Every other year - next spring 2018

Required Previous Knowledge
Proficiency in English at a level corresponding to TOEFL 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) or IELTS band 6.0 is expected.
Access to the Course
Students enrolled in the master programme in Global Health, students enrolled in similar programmes at UiB or other partner universities (e.g. tropEd Network for Education in International Health).
Teaching and learning methods

The total number of student investment time is 375. The course lasts eleven weeks and comprises lectures (90 hours), two field works in the industry including several steps as indicated below (140 hours), group work (20 hours), student presentations (15 hours), critical analysis of relevant scientific articles (20 hours), and individual assignment based on a relevant topic from an industry (90 hours).

The two field works carried out in different industries are essential parts of the course, with work load distributed throughout the course. The field works include preparatory theoretical and practical work, literature review, workplace visits, industrial process description, data collection/exposure measurements, data analysis, two reports/assignments and presentation of results and conclusions for discussion in the research group.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Two full-day field exercises (each 8 hours) in the industry with additional, associated reports/assignments and oral presentation of results from the field work
Forms of Assessment

Written exam (3h), student presentation of results from the 2 field exercises and the individual assignments. The written exam counts 70% and the individual assignment 30%.

Students who receive the grade "F" are allowed to re-sit according to standard procedures at the University of Bergen.

Grading Scale
ECTS credits A-F (F = fail)
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The reading list will be made available on Mitt UiB
Course Evaluation
Students evaluate the teaching according to the quality assessment requirements of the University of Bergen.
Examination Support Material
English English dictionary