is an industrial hygienist with Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis and a member of the AIHA Board of Directors. He can be reached at (317) 276-7779 or
In December 2013, AIHA formed a Content Portfolio Management Team (CPMT) whose role is to identify priorities for developing content that furthers AIHA’s educational mission. The CPMT was tasked with identifying topics around which AIHA should conduct research and develop products and services.
The CPMT’s work incorporated input from several sources, including AIHA’s Leadership Workshop; feedback from volunteer groups and local sections; a study commissioned by AIHA to determine which emerging trends will have the most impact on industrial hygiene; the recent AIHA assessment of member needs; and a content strategy session at AIHce 2014.
To help team members decide between many competing priorities, we used a paired comparison analysis tool that required us to rank each possibility against every other possibility. We also considered the need for balance between content development and research on emerging issues. PORTFOLIO OF WORK Through this process, we identified six areas where AIHA should focus its attention.
1. Hazard banding/OEL process. Given the huge number of chemicals in commerce, the relatively low number of occupational exposure limits for those chemicals, and the difficulty of updating OELs, the CPMT recommends that AIHA develop knowledge and resources to advocate hazard banding as an effective industrial hygiene practice.
Hazard banding provides a consistent scientific framework for development of “OEL bands” that practitioners can use to help determine benchmarks for occupational exposures. Because a rich body of research on hazard banding already exists, AIHA is well positioned to be the leading organization in this area and can quickly begin developing related products and services.
2. Sensor technologies. New applications of sensor technologies are producing greater amounts of diverse, personalized data. Real-time instruments can better capture current exposures and allow for a real-time response. They also hold promise for long-term and continuous monitoring, and can be used to promote risk communication. AIHA needs to get in front of this trend. The CPMT recommends that AIHA begin research in this area that will eventually lead to development of products and services.
3. Emerging markets. One consequence of a global economy is that companies’ supply chains have expanded into regions whose EHS regulations and expectations differ from those of the Western world. The challenges of managing EHS in emerging markets include threats that reach across borders (such as trade, climate change, and pandemics) and the lack of a universal EHS standard of care. Creating knowledge in this area would enhance public and worker health.
4. IH value/business case development. Industrial hygienists need skills to demonstrate their value and to convince top management to consider IH at the beginning stages of a project, not after implementation. The CPMT’s work has confirmed that past efforts by AIHA volunteer groups, such as the IH Value Strategy, were on the right track. The current environment is conducive to launching a business case development initiative.
5. Changing work force demographics. The work force is becoming older and more diverse. Today’s workers typically have multiple careers and multiple employers during their working lives, and an ever-increasing number are finding employment in non-traditional work environments. AIHA needs to develop a research agenda that will identify the education and tools IHs need to address these concerns.
6. Big data management. “Big data” is one of the most prominent buzzwords of recent years. Emerging tools and new sources of data offer new ways for IHs to analyze risks. Our members need the skills to manage large data sets. MORE TO COME At its meeting in July, the Board of Directors approved the CPMT’s recommendations. You’ll be hearing more about these areas in the coming months and years, but in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Six Priorities for IH Content Development
BY BARRY GRAFFEO, AIHA DIRECTOR AND CHAIR, CONTENT PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT TEAM
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