AIHA Holds First Workshop on Occupational Risk Assessment On Aug. 25, AIHA held the first of a planned series of workshops on occupational risk assessment. The workshop included presentations from representatives of EPA, OSHA, and NIOSH who discussed the ways these agencies approach risk assessment for various goals.
The workshop was moderated by Andrew Maier, the principal health scientist at Cardno ChemRisk and director of the committee that oversees the setting of Workplace Environmental Exposure Levels (WEELs). Maier’s brief introduction focused on the commonalities of risk assessment approaches. What Maier called the “shared foundation” of most risk assessments is that they all include a problem formulation (that is, the question that the risk assessment is designed to answer), an effort to understand patterns and degrees of exposure, and an evaluation of dose response.
Next, Majd El-Zoobi, a chemical engineer with EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, described risk assessments that the agency undertakes as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA identifies candidates for possible risk assessment from the approximately 42,000 chemicals in commerce, El-Zoobi said. Chemicals that the agency designates as “high priority” are assigned for risk assessment. EPA risk assessments include evaluation of occupational exposures that potentially affect both workers and nonworkers.
Following El-Zoobi’s presentation, Christine Whittaker, director of the Division of Science Integration at NIOSH, discussed the various types of risk assessments undertaken at the agency. NIOSH risk assessments have many purposes, Whittaker said: some support agency recommendations to protect workers from exposure to chemicals, some are undertaken as part of the process for creating Health Hazard Evaluations, and some are intended to assess engineering controls in specific industries. Risk assessments that support NIOSH recommended exposure limits (RELs) are designed to protect workers from occupational exposure even if they are exposed every day for a working lifetime of 45 years, Whittaker explained. The agency also produces risk assessments for its IDLH (immediately dangerous to life or health) values.
William Perry, former director of the OSHA Directorate of Standards and Guidance, said that when developing standards to protect workers, OSHA is required to show that a hazardous substance presents a significant risk to health, that its standard is technologically and economically feasible, and that the standard is cost effective. The goal of OSHA’s risk assessments is to estimate how many workers are exposed within various exposure ranges for each industry sector. These estimates inform the agency’s calculation of the potential reduction in fatalities and illnesses that will result from implementation of its standards.
The event’s final presenter was Fred Boelter, a consultant with Boelter Risk Sciences and Engineering LLC and a past chair of AIHA’s Risk Committee. Boelter observed that laypeople “seem to feel science is failing” to provide 100 percent certainty and zero percent risk for various scenarios but that risk assessment will never be able to provide such certainty. “Ultimately, there must be a willingness to accept and pay for management of the risk that is deemed to be unacceptable,” Boelter said.
More occupational risk assessment events are forthcoming and will be posted to the “free workshops” section of AIHA’s calendar of events.
Coming Soon: Vendor Directory for OEHS Professionals The 2023 Vendor Directory for OEHS Professionals, a comprehensive resource for industrial hygiene, safety, and environmental products and services, will be mailed together with the November issue of The Synergist. Keep the Vendor Directory handy for easy access to information you need to make purchasing decisions.
In addition to the print version, the Vendor Directory has an upgraded digital home with a powerful search function and a user-friendly interface that facilitates browsing on both mobile and desktop devices. Visit the Vendor Directory online.
Pandemic Guide Now Available in Spanish AIHA has published a Spanish-language translation of The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic. The free guide, El Rol del Higienista Ocupacional en una Pandemia, includes information that industrial hygienists and occupational and environmental health and safety professionals need to protect the working public during a pandemic. Lucinette Alvarado, CIH, and members of the Peruvian Occupational Hygiene Association collaborated with AIHA on the translation.
The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic was recently updated to address the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The development of the revised guide in English was originally funded by a cooperative agreement between AIHA and CDC in 2021. AIHA’s Biosafety and Microbiology Committee published the English-language version that year under the oversight of senior editors Roger D. Lewis, PhD, CIH, FAIHA, and Robert D. Strode, MS, CIH, FAIHA.
The Spanish-language pandemic guide joins other free resources available from AIHA’s
Recursos en español
webpage. AIHA will continue to update the Recursos en español page as part of its mission to promote healthier workplaces and a healthier world to Spanish-speaking communities. Other materials available include Spanish-language versions of the association’s 27 Back to Work Safely guidance documents, which were created in 2020 and 2021 in response to business closures related to COVID-19, as well as other technical materials that address control strategies.
Nominate a Colleague for an AIHA Award AIHA is accepting nominations for the 2023 AIHA awards through Dec. 30, 2022. AIHA’s awards honor the accomplishments and contributions of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals who have demonstrated their commitment to preserving, advancing, and ensuring the health and safety of workers and communities around the world. AIHA invites members to nominate individuals who have made an impact in areas such as technical achievement, social responsibility, OEHS practice, and international service. Any AIHA member in good standing can submit an AIHA award nomination.
More information about the awards nomination process is available on AIHA’s website. Please email questions about the awards to Laurie Mutdosch, AIHA’s director of membership and professional community.
AIHce EXP 2022 OnDemand Recordings Now Available AIHce OnDemand now offers access to recorded versions of AIHce EXP 2022 educational sessions through the AIHA Marketplace. Choose your preferred topic areas and view sessions you missed at AIHce EXP 2022 on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, while earning CM contact hours. Recordings are available for purchase individually, bundled by topic, and as part of a full package containing 100 educational sessions. The AIHce EXP 2022 Full OnDemand Package will only be available for purchase through Dec. 31.
To purchase or learn more about AIHce OnDemand offerings, visit the AIHA website.
In Memoriam Donald E. Wasserman, 82, of Frederick, Maryland, passed away Dec. 22, 2021. He was instrumental in developing international health standards regarding vibration-related injuries and served as a leading consultant addressing hand-arm and whole-body vibration in the U.S. A memorial notice written by Mark Geiger and published on AIHA’s website celebrates Wasserman’s life and contributions in the field of occupational health.
Last Call: Board of Directors Nominations AIHA seeks nominations for four Board of Directors positions that will be vacated in May 2023: vice president, treasurer-elect, and two at-large director positions. Electronic submission forms are available for all positions. The AIHA Board supports diversity and welcomes applications from all eligible candidates. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Oct. 14.
Visit AIHA's website for more information and email questions to Thursa Pecoraro.
American Chemistry Council Supports ERPGs The American Chemistry Council has made a $10,000 donation to the AIHA Guideline Foundation to support development of Emergency Response Planning Guidelines. Prepared by volunteer health scientists, ERPGs are air concentration guidelines for single exposures to agents and are intended for use in assessing accident prevention and emergency response plans. More information on ERPGs is available from the AIHA website and from a SynergistNOW blog post.
AIHA President to Present at MIHAICE’22 AIHA President Donna S. Heidel, CIH, FAIHA, will present the keynote address for the Malaysian Industrial Hygiene Association International Conference and Exhibition (MIHAICE’22), which will be held virtually from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Oct. 19–20. The theme of the conference is “Connect and Collaborate for Resilient Worker Protection.” Heidel will discuss how AIHA and its advisory groups and committees are working to advance the science and practice of occupational and environmental health and safety. Visit the conference website for further details.

Dates and Deadlines Oct. 12 AIHA webinar: “Welding Field Guide, 2nd Edition: Updates and Control Banding Strategies.”
Oct. 18–20 PSX 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Oct. 25 Synergist Webinar: "Ototoxicants: Identifying A Missing Link in Hearing Loss."

Dec. 30 Deadline for AIHA awards nominations.
May 22–24, 2023 AIHce EXP 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.
For a complete list of events, visit AIHA's website.