DEPARTMENTS
For the First Time, Flagship International Conference
Comes to the United States 
BY ED RUTKOWSKI
Next month, AIHA will host the International Occupational Hygiene Association’s Scientific Conference in Washington, D.C. While similar in format to AIHce, the IOHA conference strives to incorporate a wide range of international perspectives, with several sessions dedicated to health and safety problems in the developing world. IOHA comprises more than 50 national industrial and occupational hygiene associations.  As professionals from these associations prepare to meet in Washington, The Synergist highlights a handful of particularly intriguing sessions scheduled for IOHA 2018.  Keynote: The Consequences of Globalization on Worker Health and Safety in Developing Countries Monday, Sept. 24, 8:30–9:30 a.m. The opening address of IOHA 2018 will be delivered by Nancy Leppink, who leads the Occupational Safety and Health Branch of the International Labour Organization. Before joining ILO, Leppink, an American, worked in labor and civil-rights law at the state level for 25 years. In 2009, President Obama appointed her to the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor. Her government work taught her that efficient enforcement of regulations doesn’t necessarily improve compliance.  “After spending a lot of my career trying to improve the laws and raise sanctions and shift burdens of proof, it became clear that the enforcement toolbox was limited,” Leppink told IOSH Magazine last December. “You have the authority to inspect, to sanction, to levy penalties, in OSH maybe to shut down a process. The penalties are too small or too big or they are never collected, or the countervailing forces are more powerful than anything the labor inspectorate can do.” Created by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, ILO fosters cooperation between governments, employers, and workers. At IOHA 2018, Leppink will discuss ILO’s history, its efforts to help the governments of developing countries implement regulatory structures and occupational health and safety management systems, and its focus on the hazardous sectors of construction and agriculture, global supply chains, and protection for child laborers. Supply Chains to Disaster Relief—Case Studies from Around the Globe Monday, Sept. 24, 1:30–2:30 p.m. This wide-ranging session will feature a critique of Corporate Social Responsibility programs’ effectiveness in protecting workers; a description of an occupational hazards assessment tool used by clinics in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh; and the experiences of a group affiliated with the University of Puerto Rico that built safety and health awareness and promoted injury and illness prevention on the island after Hurricane Maria. (For more about the post-storm conditions on the island, see Monica Netherly’s article “A Power Mission in Puerto Rico” in the May 2018 Synergist.) Nail Salon Worker Exposure
Monday, Sept. 24, 1:30–2:30 p.m. A growing body of research has focused on the health effects of occupational exposures in nail salons. Investigative reports such as those by 2016 AIHA Upton Sinclair Award winner Sarah Maslin Nir of The New York Times have brought the hazards of this work to the public’s attention, sometimes with tangible results. (Nir’s reporting helped motivate the introduction of a state law to raise health and safety standards in nail salons.) One of the presentations in this session discusses exposures to solvents in nail salons in South Africa, another focuses on efforts to promote health and safety in nail salons in Michigan, and a third communicates the results of a laboratory study that simulated the application of nail polish and found that concentrations of volatile organic compounds exceeded relevant threshold limit values. OSH Panel Discussion: Are Workers Protected by the NAFTA Labor Side Agreement? The Lessons Learned and Missed Monday, Sept. 24, 4–5 p.m. The North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994, initiating unprecedented integration of the economies of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. One of NAFTA’s supplemental pacts, the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, was expected to ensure that labor laws were being enforced in all three countries, specifically for the prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses; protection of the rights of workers to organize, bargain collectively, and go on strike; and prohibition of forced labor. At IOHA 2018, panelists from the three countries will compare and contrast the terms of the NAALC with OHS protections in the European Union. To encourage discussion of these issues prior to IOHA 2018, a public discussion group has been established online. Panelists include AIHA Fellow Garrett Brown of the Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network, Paul Gallina of Université Bishop’s University Sherbrooke (Lennoxville), and David Rodriguez of Innovare EHS.  The Low Countries in Turmoil: Sudden Awareness of an Exposure to a Carcinogen Monday, Sept. 24, 4–5 p.m. Imagine learning that a highly used product in your industry contains asbestos. This scenario actually happened last year in the Netherlands, when Inspectorate SZW, the Dutch labor ministry, ordered the closing of all work sites potentially contaminated with Eurogrit, a product used in abrasive blasting that was found to contain chrysotile. Dozens of companies sent workers home indefinitely and faced the prospect of loss of business, compensation claims from employees, liability for the introduction of asbestos into buildings, and legal action for failure to meet contractual obligations. For weeks, workers and others who may have come into contact with Eurogrit wondered whether they had been exposed to harmful levels of asbestos. Inspectorate SZW later determined that the amount of asbestos in Eurogrit was minimal, but companies still had to clean up the product under strictly controlled conditions. At IOHA 2018, occupational hygienists from several companies affected by the Eurogrit scandal will share their experiences.

Workplace Health Without Borders: Strategies to Prevent Work-Related Disease
Monday, Sept. 24, 4–5 p.m.
Founded in 2011 by occupational hygienists, Workplace Health Without Borders is a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing occupational health and safety issues around the world. WHWB is motivated to change conditions for the approximately 2 billion people, according to the World Health Organization, who work in unhealthy and unsafe workplaces. Presenters at IOHA 2018 will discuss WHWB’s efforts to build a global network that offers training, mentoring, and technical assistance to address occupational exposure risks.

“One thing we’re dedicated to addressing is the lack of industrial hygiene knowledge and expertise, as well as resources for controls,” Marianne Levitsky, founder of WHWB, told The Synergist in October 2017. “It’s been a big eye-opener for us to try to go to places [in the developing world] and think that we can apply the kind of control measures we’ve been taught to apply here, like local exhaust ventilation and respirators, which are very impractical in these situations.”

8th International Control Banding Workshop
Tuesday, Sept. 25 (sessions held throughout the day)
This conference-within-a-conference comprises four sessions that will discuss the past and future of control banding; new developments in the related fields of hazard banding and occupational exposure banding; and the results of studies seeking to validate control banding tools such as Stoffenmanager and the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals’ Targeted Risk Assessment tool. Safety Training for Marijuana Cultivation Workers Wednesday, Sept. 26, 8–9 a.m. Employers in the emerging cannabis industry are confronting a host of problems related to the transformation from illicit business to legitimate enterprise. As marijuana cultivation moves indoors to large facilities, new health and safety problems emerge, and experienced workers need to be retrained. This session presents a training framework and curriculum developed by the Center for Health, Work and Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health. (The article “Growing Pains” in the May 2017 Synergist discusses the selection of personal protective equipment for workers in the cannabis industry.)  ISO 45001: New Occupational Health and Safety Management System Wednesday, Sept. 26, 9:15–10:15 a.m. This session seeks to help participants learn what they need to know to implement an occupational health and safety management system based on the new ISO 45001 standard in any industry. For an overview of ISO 45001, see Vic Toy’s article “The Long Road to ISO 45001” in the June/July 2018 issue of The Synergist.
Exposure Evaluation—From an Epidemiological and Risk Perspective
Wednesday, Sept. 26, 9:15–10:15 a.m.
Presenters will offer examples of mathematical modeling’s utility in reconstructing past exposures and predicting future exposures. One presentation describes a strategy involving log-linear models and Monte Carlo simulations used to reconstruct exposures to elongate mineral particles by workers in Minnesota’s taconite industry from 1955 through 2010. Another presentation discusses the results of a proof-of-concept study designed to determine the utility of robots in predicting exposures.
Since the IOHA Scientific Conference is held every few years in locations around the globe, industrial hygienists and occupational and environmental health and safety professionals based in North America might never again have a better opportunity to attend than they do this year. For more information about IOHA 2018 or to register, visit the conference website.   ED RUTKOWSKI is editor in chief of The Synergist. He can be reached via email.
Going Global
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This article has been expanded to cover more IOHA sessions than the printed version.