Organizations Call for Guidance Related to Aerosol Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 AIHA and eight other leading scientific organizations have endorsed recommendations for OSHA, CDC, NIOSH, and other federal agencies to create specific guidelines for workers and communities related to aerosol transmission of the virus SARS-CoV-2. The recommendations respond to federal agencies’ delay in acknowledging the potential for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to infect people via the inhalation of virus-laden aerosols and issuing appropriate guidance. At the time the recommendations were published in early February, the World Health Organization and CDC had not altered protection guidelines for workers and communities to address SARS-CoV-2 aerosol transmission since October 2020.
The recommendations, which are described in a joint consensus statement that summarizes what occupational health professionals and scientists currently know about airborne SARS-CoV-2, call for regulation, research, and funding for airborne transmission prevention practices. For example, AIHA and the co-sponsoring organizations recommend that frontline healthcare workers be provided better respiratory protection options, including elastomeric respirators and powered air-purifying respirators, and urge federal OSHA issue a temporary emergency standard for COVID-19. The recommendations also call for research into the roles and designs of dilution and local exhaust ventilation in a variety of workplaces as well as the development and deployment of effective, simple-to-use, inexpensive ventilation assessment tools and methods.
The other scientific societies that support the joint consensus statement include the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare, ACGIH, the American Public Health Association-Occupational Health and Safety Section, the International Safety Center, the National Association of Occupational Health Professionals, the Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention, and Workplace Health Without Borders.
The joint consensus statement can be downloaded as a PDF from AIHA’s website. More information is available in an AIHA press release.
AIHA Supports Bill to Prevent Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Services AIHA announced on Feb. 25 its support for the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which was reintroduced to Congress by Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut. The bill is supported by a bipartisan group of co-sponsors as well as healthcare and social service professionals and unions that represent them. The bill’s co-sponsors include Virginia’s Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee; Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska; North Carolina’s Rep. Alma Adams, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections; Rep. Don Young of Alaska; Rep. Ro Khanna of California; Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; and Oklahoma’s Rep. Tom Cole. If signed into law, the bill would require the U.S. Secretary of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard requiring employers within the healthcare and social services industries to develop and implement comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans. Similar legislation was introduced in the previous Congress and passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.
AIHA CEO Lawrence Sloan praised the effort, saying that “Members of Congress can take action now to reduce workplace violence, save lives, and protect communities by swiftly passing the bill.”
Preventing workplace violence is one of the workplace health and safety issues included in AIHA's Public Policy Agenda. For more information on AIHA’s support for the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, please email Mark Ames, AIHA director of Government Relations.
Contribute to the Future of IH The industrial hygiene profession needs a pipeline of highly trained and skilled professionals if it is to continue to meet the needs of a global economy. The purpose of the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation is to provide scholarships to the best and the brightest to ensure this critical need is being met. Since 1982, AIHF has distributed more than $2.2 million in scholarship funds to students studying industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health and safety.
Contributions to AIHF are tax-deductible, as provided by law. Donating to AIHF will help ensure that deserving students preparing for careers in industrial hygiene will receive scholarships. Detailed information about making a donation can be found on the AIHF website. Learn more about AIHF.
AIHce EXP 2021 Goes Fully Virtual On March 1, AIHA announced that AIHce EXP 2021 will be held fully online. The conference was originally planned to be a hybrid experience so that attendees could come together both in person and virtually. AIHA made great strides in planning safety protocols for the in-person experience, and the conference’s educational opportunities originally featured an expanded hybrid option, which allowed for live audience participation regardless of participants’ physical location. However, with the slow roll out of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, many members have indicated that they are not able or willing to travel before receiving it. The AIHA staff and Board of Directors therefore decided to convert this year’s conference into a fully virtual event.
Virtual AIHce EXP 2021 will be held over three days, May 24–26. Many of the professional development courses will be held virtually as well.
AIHA Tasked by CDC to Develop Public Education on Emerging Infectious Diseases In February, AIHA received a $500,000 award from CDC to develop more public education resources aimed at various working populations to complement its current library of Back to Work Safely resources, which were developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The award was granted under the CDC program “Improving Clinical and Public Health Outcomes through National Partnerships to Prevent and Control Emerging Infectious Disease Threats.” AIHA will use the funds to develop new training videos, books, and other knowledge products for small businesses owners; first responders; workers in daycare facilities, K-12 schools, and colleges; and vulnerable workers in the construction and agricultural industry sectors. AIHA’s resources will be intended to help these worker populations manage the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
Further details are available in AIHA’s press release. AIHA’s Back to Work Safely resources are available from Spanish-language resources that promote health and safety in workplaces and communities can be found on AIHA's website.
AIHA Announces Changes for Email Communications In mid-February, AIHA announced planned upgrades to its email preference center. The changes are intended to provide members with more control over what types of communications they receive from AIHA. Because of these changes, AIHA began sending emails from a new domain on March 1.
To ensure uninterrupted delivery of email communications from AIHA, please ask your IT team to add AIHA’s new domain,, to your safe senders list. If you’re on your own, a few tutorials for popular email clients like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and more are available online.
Several other initiatives designed to improve AIHA members’ experience are forthcoming. More information about what AIHA has planned and how it affects members is available on the association's website.
Notice of Annual Business Meeting
AIHA’s annual business meeting will be held online via Zoom on Tuesday, June 1, from 12 to 1 p.m. ET to introduce incoming officers and directors and address other association business. In order to establish a quorum for this meeting, members are asked to register in advance. Individuals who register will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
New Video Series on Mold A new video series released by AIHA is intended to help the general public understand what mold is, how it can affect them, and how to prevent mold issues in residential homes. The new videos can be viewed on YouTube. AIHA’s Mold Resource Center offers additional information and resources related to mold.
Update Your Mailing Address
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 (AIHA member login required). To ensure uninterrupted delivery of The Synergist, designate your home address as “preferred” on your profile.
Volunteer Opportunities Are you interested in serving as a leader within AIHA? AIHA posts volunteer opportunities for members to serve in various leadership capacities throughout the year. Please email questions about getting involved with AIHA to AIHA staff.
Dates and Deadlines
April 2021 AIHA University Risk Assessment Virtual Conference.
May 13 AIHA webinar: “Bridging Boomers to Zoomers: Understanding a Multi-Generational Workplace.”
May 24–26 Virtual AIHce EXP 2021.
Sept. 20-23 AIHA’s “Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene” course in Westerville, Ohio.
Sept. 28–30 PSX 2021 (formerly the Product Stewardship Conference) in Anaheim, Calif.
For a complete list of events, visit AIHA's website.