BRADLEY KING is a senior industrial hygienist in the U.S. Public Health Service. He serves as secretary of the AIHA Board of Directors and chair of the AIHA Technology Initiatives Strategic Advisory Group. Send feedback to The Synergist.
Transformative Workplace Technologies
A member of the AIHA Board of Directors recently posed a thoughtful question: how can we, as an association, better explore the application of emerging technologies to the practice of IH, utilize them in creative ways, and highlight them to spread awareness among AIHA members? This question inspired the creation of the Technology Initiatives Strategic Advisory Group, or TISAG. As the name implies, TISAG is not intended to be a technical committee but to provide strategic recommendations to the Board, develop initiatives that increase members’ knowledge of new and existing technologies, initiate new discussions among our members on these topics, work in cooperation with technical committees and other AIHA volunteer groups, and partner with external organizations on these issues as needed.
TISAG’s primary goal is to generate awareness of the latest technological tools, such as those freely available on AIHA's website, to promote the practice of occupational and environmental health and safety and communicate its success stories to a broader non-OEHS audience. AIHA members are invited to share their experiences using IH etools by contributing to the Catalyst discussion (login required). TISAG also seeks to sponsor events such as technology “town hall” meetings or in-person roundtables to help educate OEHS professionals; support AIHA’s content priorities, which are managed by the Content Portfolio Advisory Group (CPAG); serve as a nexus for other volunteer groups and project teams to discuss and advance the development of new products and services; and establish working relationships with other associations and organizations as needed to help further awareness of trends in technology that might inform AIHA best practices.
INTRODUCING IHTECHTALKS One way that TISAG will spread awareness of technology applications for the IH is through “IHTechTalks,” a series of recorded videos, available on AIHA’s website, that are intended to increase our members’ knowledge about and use of current and emerging technologies. IHTechTalks discuss topics such as technology-related terminology that IHs should know, the importance of data cleaning, recommendations for transitioning to a digital IH database, and how to write simple code for use in IH analysis. To access IHTechTalks, visit the TISAG webpage.
TISAG invites speakers from across the membership to participate in our IHTechTalks series. This is a great way to help fellow AIHA members by sharing case studies, best practices, and lessons learned from implementing new and emerging technologies into IH practice. In addition, TISAG has developed a new PDC for AIHce EXP 2022 called “Managing IH Data the Smart and Easy Way.” Scheduled for Sunday, May 22, the PDC aims to help OEHS professionals understand and use technology tools already on their computer.
In addition to raising awareness of new and emerging technologies, TISAG also hopes to highlight how they are changing work by establishing relationships with organizations like NIOSH (which has a “Future of Work” initiative that addresses artificial intelligence, robotics, and other technologies) and academic institutions.
The emergence and use of new technologies has greatly impacted the work sites for which industrial hygienists are responsible as well as the way in which we practice our profession.
TECHNOLOGY AND IH To help bring technology-focused projects to fruition, the Board of Directors also recently approved a new name and mission for the volunteer group formerly known as the Computer Applications Committee. The renamed Emerging Digital Technologies Committee will continue to develop technology tools such as apps that are useful to the IH and OEHS professional. One example is the IH Calculator App championed by the committee and currently in re-development in collaboration with NIOSH. The committee is seeking new members, so consider volunteering if interested.
The emergence and use of new technologies has greatly impacted the work sites for which industrial hygienists are responsible as well as the way in which we practice our profession. Exploring and understanding the impact of new technologies and integrating them into IH practice is work that many of AIHA’s volunteer groups deal with and which TISAG wants to support. AIHA members who are interested in these technology-related issues will have many opportunities to contribute, as several calls for volunteers are anticipated in 2022. Information will be posted to AIHA's website.