The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has polled its membership on occupational health and safety priorities. See if you agree with the poll’s results.
AIHA conducts the survey (PDF) every two years. Here are the top 6 industry-related issues that the group’s members said were the most important overall priorities for the coming two years:
- updating permissible exposure limits (PELs)
- OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2)
- professional recognition/title protection for industrial hygienists
- budget appropriations for OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), OSHA reform, greater recognition of NIOSH
- nanotechnology, and
- laboratory accreditation.
AIHA members also chose the most important important issues for OSHA:
- updating PELs
- hazard communication; the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Classification/Labeling of Chemicals
- combustible dust
- silica, and
Some PELs, the consensus-based limits on how long a person can be exposed to a particular substance without experiencing harmful effects, haven’t been updated since the 1960s and 1970s. Scientific evidence about exposure levels has progressed in the last 50 years, but the PELs haven’t been updated.
OSHA’s I2P2 proposal would require companies to establish and maintain their own Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. That involves identifying and controlling hazards as well as planning, implementing, evaluating and improving processes that protect employee safety and health. Some states already require companies to have similar safety management programs.
Professional recognition/title protection is an issue that has appeared on AIHA’s priorities list since 1993. AIHA is concerned with the continued influx of occupational health and safety titles awarded by non-accredited bodies.
For many years, lawmakers have introduced bills in Congress to reform OSHA, including criminal penalties, whistleblower protections, expanding covered employees and the Voluntary Protection Program. AIHA says it supports efforts to review and amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act if changes provide more protection for workers.