DANIEL H. ANNA, PhD, CIH, CSP, is president of AIHA and senior industrial hygienist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. He can be reached at (240) 228-1980 or email@example.com.
Closer to Our Goal
BY DANIEL H. ANNA, AIHA PRESIDENT
One of the pleasures of serving on AIHA’s Board of Directors is in seeing firsthand how our association’s activities evolve over time. Of the many initiatives during my eight years on the Board, the growth of our international outreach, particularly to China, has been one of the most satisfying to watch. Next month, approximately 400 occupational and industrial hygiene professionals will attend the first-ever China-U.S. Occupational Health Symposia in Shanghai. AIHA is proud to serve as a host organization for this event, along with China’s National Center for International Cooperation in Work Safety (NCICS), which is affiliated with the State Administration for Work Safety (SAWS). The Symposia represents another milestone in our longstanding relationship with China’s occupational health organizations. In the mid-1990s, AIHA’s Board of Directors made a strategic decision to prioritize China and India in our international outreach efforts. This decision helped direct our limited resources toward areas of the world where we could be most effective. Subsequent AIHA Boards have affirmed this strategy and sought opportunities to offer help where it was prudent to do so. The strategy has proven to be a wise use of our resources. China alone has more than 600 million industrial workers. It is the largest coal-producing country in the world, with nearly 6 million coal miners at work in roughly 11,000 mines. Its burgeoning chemical manufacturing industry is encumbered by outdated processes and low mechanization. Much of the burden of occupational disease in China can be attributed to silica, benzene, and lead—hazards that we have long known how to control effectively. Together, these facts suggest that even a modest increase in China’s occupational hygiene capacity could dramatically improve worker health.
The Symposia represents another milestone in our longstanding relationship with China’s occupational health organizations.
STANDARDS AND BEST PRACTICES The program for the Symposia was still being finalized as this issue of The Synergist went to press, but confirmed presenters include an intriguing mix of occupational health experts from around the world. OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels is expected to speak, as are NIOSH Chief of Staff Frank Hearl and SAWS Vice Minister Yang Yuanyuan. These speakers will focus on occupational health management and the systems of laws and standards governing prevention and control in both China and the U.S.
Another main focus of the Symposia is the sharing of best practices. Scheduled presentations will address chemical substitution and the implementation of OHS standards. Dr. Joachim Breuer of German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) will discuss that organization’s role in the prevention and control of occupational disease, and Niu Shengli of the International Labor Organization will address developments in disease diagnosis.
Additional sessions will concentrate on industrial hygiene strategy in exposure and risk assessment, emergency response, prevention through design, occupational health certification and training, emerging occupational hazards, and laboratory management and data quality. ANOTHER MILESTONE The rapidly developing Chinese economy encompasses vast numbers of workers who are facing the kinds of hazards our members have the expertise to control. Our continuing involvement in China brings us closer to accomplishing our goal of eliminating workplace illness.