2015 AIHA ELECTIONS
Michael B. Amster, PE, CIH, CSP, CHMM Principal Consultant M.B. Amster & Associates, Inc. Concord, Mass. AIHA must support the needs of members and provide tools to help ensure our success. We need to be better marketers to educate business management and those to whom we provide information—IH is a bottom-line business function. We need to address the aging of the profession by encouraging ongoing retiree participation, so they can pass on “historical knowledge and experience” to practitioners new to the field. We must be nimble and willing to change course when necessary to address changing needs of the profession. This must be done in a fiscally sound manner—supporting “needs” and carefully considering “wants.”
For each IH, their specific practice defines their need to “own” some number of the current content priorities. Knowledge of other priorities may be of interest, their value magnified by the need to address situational issues.
- Development of Hazard Banding/OELs—for more effective IH practice.
- Sensor Technology—to better capture exposures, making more timely risk assessments.
- Emerging Markets—to address supply chain responsibilities and with hopes of developing a universal EHS Standard of Care.
- IH Value/Business Case Development—to better demonstrate value and market our profession.
- Changing Workplace Demographics—to address the aging work force and less traditional work environments.
- Big Data Management—a risk analysis tool to manage large data sets.
Lindsay Cook, CIH, CSP Senior Vice President The EI Group, Inc. Morrisville, N.C. Monumental changes have occurred in the science, technology and practice of IH over our first 75 years. It is critical to AIHA’s future success that AIHA maintain and enhance its leadership role as our profession continues to evolve at an ever-increasing pace.
Interest in OHS management system concepts has grown immensely over the last decade. AIHA members have already provided extensive leadership and insight in advancing these concepts, both here and internationally. It is critical that AIHA take “ownership” of the evolution and integration of OHS management systems, as this proven, proactive management strategy becomes the gold standard for health and safety programs worldwide.
Standards development is a second, related arena where AIHA “ownership” is crucial to our future. As government regulatory systems struggle to keep up, health and safety professionals will increasingly turn to consensus standards and other nongovernmental approaches for guidance. I believe it was a strategic mistake to abandon AIHA’s leadership role as an ANSI standards developer. AIHA must be at the forefront in developing new and more effective standards of professional practice.
With our strong balance sheet, AIHA is well positioned to meet these challenges. As Treasurer my goal is to maintain that strong financial position, while balancing the need for revenue generation with the obligation to make the critical investments necessary for the future of our profession!
What Kind of Near-miss Was Ebola? As I write this in mid-October 2014, Americans are still getting used to the new and scary risk of Ebola. Ebola fears led to a number of airline passengers being yanked off planes because they exhibited flu-like symptoms and had some connection, however remote, to Africa. So far they’ve all tested negative for Ebola. If that remains true, the number of such disruptions will soon decline precipitously.
Are these events warnings that we should continue to take seriously, “casting a wide net” to reduce the odds of missing an actual Ebola case onboard? Or are they false alarms that we should learn to stop worrying about? Most experts, officials, and journalists say they’re false alarms. But that answer will change in hindsight if a traveler from West Africa ever infects some fellow passengers with Ebola.
Ebola also offers an object lesson in learned overconfidence. The discovery that two nurses were infected with the virus while treating an Ebola sufferer at a Dallas hospital raised many questions. Did the nurses breach PPE protocols? Were the protocols insufficiently protective in the first place? Is it realistic to expect healthcare workers to be 100 percent meticulous in following such protocols?
One relevant fact: every nurse has considerable experience with breaches of infection control protocols that didn’t end in infection. And all too often the lesson learned isn’t that “We need to be more meticulous.” It is that “Infection control is pretty forgiving. Even when we mess up, it doesn’t usually do any harm.” Then along comes a much less forgiving pathogen, Ebola, and learned overconfidence becomes life-threatening.