DEPARTMENTS
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ETHICS
The IH Who Knew Too Much
JEFF THROCKMORTON, CIH, MSPH, FAIHA, is the senior industrial hygienist for Brigham Young University, a member of the Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee, and a past Board member of both AIHA and ABIH. He can be reached via email. D. JEFF BURTON is an IH engineer with broad experience in ventilation used for emission and exposure control. He is the author of many books and training courses, and is current chair of the ANSI Z9.2 and Z9.10 subcommittees. His full biography can be found online. He can be contacted via email.
When Is It Ethical to Share Sensitive Information? BY JEFF THROCKMORTON AND D. JEFF BURTON
Editor’s note: The case studies in this article are fictitious and are intended to highlight ethical issues in the practice of industrial hygiene. Any resemblance to real people or organizations is coincidental. One of the key provisions found in the ethical principles published by AIHA and ACGIH relates to the requirement to maintain and respect the confidentiality of sensitive information obtained in the course of professional or related activities. (See the sidebar for relevant excerpts from the ethical principles.) When is it appropriate to notify regulatory agencies about potential violations? Are there times when professionals must weigh their actions against immediate circumstances? When should professionals step beyond what is considered a “normal” course of action? These are a few of the questions explored in the following case studies. The Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee encourages you to read these scenarios, think about what you would do in these situations, and write to The Synergist with your opinions, which may be printed in a future issue. You are also invited to submit scenarios for use in future articles. Please direct all enquiries about JIHEEC to the committee chair, Rhiannon Filip.