AIHA: Engineering Controls Necessary during COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Despite COVID-19 vaccination programs taking place throughout the United States, AIHA strongly recommends practical, science-based engineering controls, including ventilation and enhanced filtration, to ensure safe workplaces and schools. In a press release published on Feb. 4, AIHA stresses that health and safety measures remain necessary during the reopening of businesses and schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as address health concerns related to buildings that have been shut down for extended periods of time. These concerns include waterborne pathogens such as Legionella and Pseudomonas in stagnant water systems.
“The vaccine is not an end-all-be-all in returning to work safely,” said AIHA CEO Lawrence Sloan, MBA, CAE. “Not everyone will be vaccinated for COVID-19 immediately, and some may refuse vaccination altogether. Adopting reliable engineering controls will reduce the risk of COVID-19 and address the issues with buildings that have been closed or underused for nearly a year.”
In addition to issuing the press release, AIHA shared its collection of Back to Work Safely guidelines with President Joe Biden’s administration. The guidelines build on CDC and OSHA guidance and provide practical recommendations on control strategies such as personal protective equipment, engineering controls, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, personal hygiene, and physical distancing. And in a letter sent to the White House on Feb. 1, AIHA offered its expertise in assisting the administration in communicating the overall importance of workplace health and safety, combating vaccination myths, and emphasizing the need for continued vigilance during the pandemic.
“From the early stages of the pandemic, AIHA has responded to the needs of workers by activating our vast network of experts,” wrote Sloan and AIHA President Lindsay Cook, CIH, CSP, FAIHA. “We would welcome the opportunity to partner with your COVID-19 task force as your administration seeks to accelerate the reopening of America’s schools and businesses.”
For more information, see AIHA’s press release and the letter to the White House. AIHA’s Back to Work Safely resources are also available online.
AIHA Announces Spanish-Language Resources AIHA has published Recursos en español, an online library of public resources written in the Spanish language that promote health and safety in workplaces and communities. AIHA recognizes the importance of accessible information on industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health and safety and worked with Lucinette Alvarado, CIH, on the Spanish translation and adaptation of the association’s public resources. The new curated collection of publications, infographics, guidance documents, and white papers is now available at no charge to Spanish-speaking AIHA members, partners, media, and members of the general public.
"Accurate and clear information is a powerful tool to keep our workers and communities healthy and safe," said AIHA CEO Lawrence D. Sloan, MBA, CAE. "Offering these public resources in Spanish [helps] our members [and provides] an opportunity to reach Spanish-speaking IH/OEHS professionals and communities and expand our circle of collaborators."
The Recursos en español page launched soon after AIHA announced that its Back to Work Safely guidance documents had become available in Spanish. AIHA will continue to update Recursos en español as part of its mission to empower those who apply scientific knowledge to protect all workers from occupational hazards.
View Recursos en español on AIHA’s website.
AIHA PAT Programs Announces New Brand Identity AIHA PAT Programs, which provides external quality control program assessment for laboratories, unveiled its new brand identity in February. The rebranding includes a new logo, mission statement, and vision, and an updated website.
"We are excited to reveal our refreshed brand identity,” said Angela Oler, the director of operations for AIHA PAT Programs. "This rebranding represents a significant step in AIHA PAT Programs’ evolution, [but] our commitment to improving laboratory performance hasn't changed.”
Developed in collaboration with the Chicago-based agency 88 Brand Partners, the new logo reflects AIHA PAT Programs' function of helping participants excel in laboratory services and advocating for proficiency testing nationally and worldwide. The updated website is intended to offer users easy access to information about full-scale and pilot programs, organizational policies, upcoming testing, volunteer opportunities, and more.
AIHA PAT Programs is an accredited provider of proficiency testing under ISO/IEC 17043:2010.
BOHS Appoints New Chief Editor of Flagship Journal The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) has appointed Rachael M. Jones, PhD, CIH, as the new chief editor of Annals of Work Exposures and Health, its flagship scientific and research journal. Jones is an associate professor and industrial hygiene program director at the University of Utah. She replaces the previous chief editor, Noah Seixas, PhD, CIH, FAIHA, who retired from the position after eight years.
“I expect the theme of COVID-19 work exposures and health will continue to be well-represented in the journal in the coming year, and I particularly look forward to the time when our research transitions from characterizing the problem of COVID-19 in workplaces to implementing and evaluating solutions,” Jones wrote in an editorial published in the journal’s January 2021 issue.
Three articles in the January issue of Annals of Work Exposures and Health focus on aspects of COVID-19, including the availability of personal protective equipment in hospitals during the pandemic, decontamination strategies for filtering facepiece respirators, and controls for minimizing SARS-CoV-2 aerosol transmission in workplaces.
For more information, see the press release from BOHS.
Continuing Education Committee Applications Due Soon AIHA is accepting applications for positions on the Continuing Education Committee. The CEC’s mission is to ensure quality educational opportunities that broaden knowledge, enhance technical competencies, and provide industrial hygienists with practical tools and skills. The committee provides one of the levels of technical peer review of AIHA’s professional development courses, or PDCs. CEC members are also asked to audit new educational offerings, which provides an opportunity for them to earn CM hours at no cost.
Selection of new CEC members will be completed in the spring, and terms will begin with AIHce EXP 2021.
Applications are due by March 17. The application is available online. For more information, email Erin Breece, CEC staff liaison, or visit the committee webpage.
Get Involved with the Conference Program Committee AIHA seeks applicants for membership in the Conference Program Committee (CPC), which is responsible for reviewing and selecting education sessions for AIHce EXP. The CPC’s goals include developing an innovative program for AIHce EXP that meets the educational needs of the profession and providing long-range planning for continuous improvement of the technical quality of the annual conference. The committee is intended to be representative of the AIHA membership and the AIHce EXP audience and bring subject matter expertise and the conference attendee's perspective to the deliberations over which session proposals to choose.
More information about the CPC and how to apply is available from AIHA’s website. Applications are due by April 7.
Reopening Guidance Available for Laboratories A new guidance document published by AIHA in January is intended to provide clear, actionable guidance for the safe reopening of laboratory facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document (PDF) is sponsored by AIHA’s Laboratory Health and Safety Committee and includes measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and maintain a healthy workplace while resuming or continuing laboratory operations.
Other free resources recently published by AIHA include the guidance document “The Lens of Minority Populations in the Workplace During COVID-19” (PDF) and a joint consensus statement on addressing the aerosol transmission of SARS CoV-2 and recommendations for preventing occupational exposures (PDF). View all of AIHA’s free public resources on the association's website.
Working from Home but Missing Your Synergist? If you’ve been working from home during the pandemic, please consider updating your address with AIHA. You can change your address by editing your profile through To ensure uninterrupted delivery of The Synergist, designate your home address as “preferred” on your profile. Update your address (AIHA member login required).
Subscribe to SynergistNOW The SynergistNOW blog offers ideas, insights, and perspectives on important topics affecting industrial hygiene professionals. SynergistNOW typically features two new posts per week. The blog is available to everyone with an interest in the IH and OEHS fields, but even AIHA members must subscribe. Visit SynergistNOW.
Dates and Deadlines March 17 Free Synergist Webinar: "Cost-Justifying Ergonomics: Methods and Tips for Calculating ROI." March 17
Deadline to apply for a position on AIHA’s Continuing Education Committee.
March 22–26 AIHA’s virtual Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene course.
March 30 AIHA webinar: “Metrics That Matter - Building a Balanced Set of Health Metrics.”
April 7 Deadline to apply for a position on AIHA’s Conference Program Committee.
May 24–26
Virtual AIHce EXP 2021.
For a complete list of events, visit AIHA's website.