Back to Work Safely Initiative Wins Award AIHA’s Back to Work Safely initiative recently received a 2021 Golden Trumpet Award in the category for COVID-19 external response from the Publicity Club of Chicago. The Golden Trumpet Awards honor distinguished achievement in public relations and communications. AIHA started the Back to Work Safely campaign at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in response to misinformation about personal protective equipment, decontamination, and indoor air quality. The Back to Work Safely website now features guidance documents in English and Spanish for 27 different business sectors.
“We are very honored to receive this award in recognition of the work of the volunteers and staff of AIHA,” said Sue Marchese, AIHA’s managing director of Marketing and Communications.
AIHA’s guidance is intended to help businesses and consumers implement science-based procedures for limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace. In 2020, received more than 168,000 unique views and the guidance documents were downloaded more than 1.5 million times. Back to Work Safely documents have been featured in national and international media outlets and referenced by CDC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and governors’ offices throughout the country.
AIHA worked with Chicago-based strategic communications agency CS-Effect to communicate about Back to Work Safely through media outreach, social media, and industry-specific resources and guidelines as well as connect AIHA experts with journalists and reporters covering the pandemic.
As this issue of The Synergist went to press, AIHA was working to release the second edition of the Back to Work Safely guidelines to keep up with the evolving science related to the airborne nature of SARS-CoV-2, its mutations, and COVID-19 vaccines.
In Memoriam James Benjamin D'Arcy, PhD, CIH (Ret), FAIHA, passed away on June 26. He was 72. D'Arcy was actively involved in the Michigan Industrial Hygiene Society and AIHA’s Nano and Advanced Materials Working Group and Aerosol Technology Committee. “Jim was dedicated to protecting workers from environmental dangers, pioneering the mapping of hazardous aerosols within factories, specializing in asbestos and later mycobacteria,” his obituary says. “He became one of the most prominent industrial hygienists within GM, and a GM Technical Fellow at GM R&D.” Read more on the website of the Will & Schwarzkoff Funeral Home.
AIHA Fellow William C. Hinds, CIH, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, passed away on May 14. He was 82. Hinds was the founding chair of the Fielding School's Department of Environmental Health Sciences. His primary research area was fundamental and applied research related to aerosols and industrial hygiene controls of airborne contaminants. He was the 2009 recipient of AIHA’s Donald E. Cummings Memorial Award. Read more on UCLA’s website.
AIHA member Monica Melkonian, MS, CIH, passed away in April. Throughout her career, she was an advocate of advancing the practice of industrial hygiene and occupational health. A past chair of the AIHA Computer Applications Committee and a member of the association’s Big Data Task Force, Melkonian authored Synergist articles and provided numerous presentations at AIHce roundtables on computer applications, Big Data, and data privacy. The Monica Melkonian Memorial Scholarship was recently established as a tribute to her legacy. Read more on AIHA’s website. If you worked with or knew Monica and would like to share a story or experience with her husband and son, their mailing address is PO Box 189, Powell Butte, OR 97753.
Mark Cuban Receives Inaugural Workplace Health Public Influencer Award In May, AIHA announced investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban as the recipient of the inaugural Workplace Health Public Influencer Award, citing his assistance in promoting AIHA's Back to Work Safely initiative. Inspired by Cuban's leadership, AIHA established the Workplace Health Public Influencer Award to honor people or organizations that raise awareness for the occupational and environmental health and safety profession or AIHA's efforts through personal and public outreach.
“We are so grateful for all Mr. Cuban did to communicate the importance of our Back to Work Safely guidance documents,” said Lindsay J. Cook, CIH, CSP, past president of AIHA. “His enthusiastic support, both on social media and through interviews, contributed to the Back to Work Safely documents receiving over half a million downloads between May 20 and June 15, 2020."
More information appears in AIHA’s press release and in the article “Helping Small Employers Reopen Safely” from the September 2020 Synergist.
Beta Test the New FR Assessment Tool Understanding, evaluating, and selecting flame-resistant (FR) clothing can be a challenge for many occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. The new FR Assessment Tool, developed by members of AIHA’s Protective Clothing and Equipment Committee, provides step-by-step guidance for performing a flash fire risk assessment and helps users decide whether FR clothing is needed for a given work task. The team that developed the tool invites the AIHA community to beta test it and provide feedback by Aug. 31.
Instructions for helping the development team improve the FR Assessment Tool can be found highlighted in an orange box on the AIHA IH Apps and Tools webpage. The feature article “Introducing the FR Assessment Tool: When Do You Need to Use Flame-Resistant Clothing?” from the June/July 2021 issue of The Synergist provides additional information about the tool.
AIHA Urges Policymakers to Address Worker Health, Safety in Infrastructure Legislation In June, AIHA issued a new set of health and safety priorities for infrastructure and construction workers, designed to inform congressional and White House policies. At the time, the Biden administration was negotiating with congressional leaders on a new infrastructure spending plan. AIHA’s legislative priorities for infrastructure and construction address urgent needs such as workforce development; hazard communication and training; research, development, and deployment; and the enforcement of workplace health and safety requirements. AIHA urges Congress and the White House to prioritize these health and safety needs of infrastructure workers.
A PDF of AIHA’s legislative priorities for infrastructure is available from the association's website. For more information on the association’s infrastructure priorities and to access public resources for working with local, state, and federal government representatives on worker health and safety issues, please visit AIHA’s Government Relations and Advocacy webpage.
Students Recognized for Best-in-Show Posters Congratulations to the students whose posters were selected as best in show during Virtual AIHce EXP 2021. Godwin Erekaife of West Virginia University came in first place with the poster “Developing Conversion Factors Between the United States and Germany Sampling Methodologies for Measuring Respirable Crystalline Silica.” The second-place winner was the University of Minnesota’s Adepeju Adesina, whose poster was titled “Assessing Exposure to Airborne Swine Influenza A Virus (IAV) in a Minnesota Wean-to-Finish Facility.” Tyler Bobo of Purdue University placed third for the poster “Assessment of Workplace Exposure to Metallic Nanoparticles Produced During Metal Inert Gas Welding Using Nanoparticle Respiratory Deposition Sampler.”
AIHce EXP 2022 is scheduled to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, May 23–25. The submission portal for the 2022 conference is now open, and proposals for student posters and presentations will be due on March 17, 2022.
Heat Standard Proposed in Virginia On June 4, AIHA submitted comments (PDF) to the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry about its proposal to draft a new standard on occupational exposure to heat illness. AIHA supports Virginia’s intent to develop and adopt a standard "to reduce/eliminate employee injuries, illnesses, and fatalities due to exposure to excessive heat at indoor and outdoor places of work."

Latest AIHA University Catalog The latest edition of the AIHA University Catalog is now available. AIHA University provides diverse avenues for learning and professional development, including webinars, online and face-to-face courses, and publications. The catalog features reliable education resources for industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health and safety professionals worldwide.

Free Mold Resources
A recent press release published by AIHA highlights the association’s resources on mold, including the fact sheet “Facts About Mold: A Consumer Focus.” Additional resources include a short video on issues related to mold in residential buildings as well as AIHA’s Consultants Listing and Mold Resource Center.

Synergist Webinar Recordings The Synergist hosts free webinars throughout the year, and AIHA members can access past recordings at any time. Delivered by experts from sponsoring companies in three distinct formats, these webinars can help you learn about best practices and emerging technologies relevant to your work.
Dates and Deadlines
Aug. 24–Oct. 26 Virtual Comprehensive Industrial Hygiene Review course. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12–2 p.m. ET, co-sponsored by the University of Michigan and the Michigan Industrial Hygiene Society.
Sept. 2 AIHA webinar: “IP for IH—Instructional Practices for Industrial Hygienists.”
Sept. 9 AIHA webinar: “The Role of OEHS Professionals in Continuity Planning: A Practical Application.”
Sept. 11–15 IOHA 2021: The 12th IOHA International Scientific Conference in Daegu, South Korea.
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, California.
For a complete list of events, visit AIHA's website.