DONNA S. HEIDEL, CIH, FAIHA, is principal industrial hygienist at Amazon.
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Prudent Investments
Many years ago, the Board of Directors established a policy that makes a portion of AIHA’s investment income available for new projects. This policy is called “Invested Reserves Above Target,” or IRAT. The amount of IRAT money available each year is determined by a calculation based on a three-year rolling average of investment income, realized gains and losses, and unrealized gains and losses, subject to the caveat that the association maintain reserves at least equal to 50 percent of annual operating costs.
To be considered for IRAT funding, a project should have a high likelihood of achieving one or more of the following outcomes: result in a new product or service of value to AIHA members; generate new sources of revenue to strengthen the financial stability of the association; develop new content that advances AIHA’s content priorities or core competencies; or provide support to OEHS professionals to help address global worker health and well-being. At its November meeting, the Board of Directors approved the following IRAT projects for 2023:
Outreach to EHS technicians. This project assesses the potential for AIHA to offer fundamental occupational hygiene training needed by EHS technicians who are assuming “worker health” responsibilities as a part of their jobs. An advanced web advertising campaign targeting this market will launch this year.
Grand challenges. This project will support the development of “concept papers” outlining the four AIHA grand challenges: improving exposure assessment, improving equity in workplaces, addressing the impacts of the changing work environment, and mitigating the impacts of climate change on workers. For more information, visit AIHA's website.
AIHce rebranding. Market research has revealed the need for a more universally understandable name, logo, and tagline for AIHA’s annual conference. This project funds the development of these new elements.
State of the art vs. practice survey. Last year, AIHA launched an initiative intended to identify gaps between existing OEHS practices and best-in-class practices. This project funds the development of the first of a series of surveys about OEHS practices.
Our IRAT policy allows us to make prudent investments in programs that have potential to increase the benefits of membership.
Public relations campaign for improving exposure judgments. Another initiative launched in 2022 seeks to improve the accuracy of OEHS professionals’ exposure judgments. This project will fund a campaign to disseminate educational materials related to exposure judgments, encourage people to sit for the Exposure Decision Analysis Registry exam, and promote the use of e-tools for improving both quantitative and qualitative exposure judgments. Education needs assessment. This project involves a survey of AIHA members that will help staff develop a strategic plan for our educational products, evaluate content priorities, optimize education offered at our annual conference, and further develop AIHA’s e-learning offerings such as webinars and online courses. Salary and compensation calculators. Two separate IRAT projects will fund salary and compensation surveys of members of AIHA and the Product Stewardship Society. From these data, online calculators will be developed that members can use to demonstrate the competitive compensation offered in their field. Accreditation of sampling. AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs LLC is exploring approaches to the accreditation of sampling as a standalone activity. This multi-year project involves surveys and interviews of AIHA members and other technical experts conducted by an outside contractor. Sensor technology accreditation feasibility study. This exploratory project is a first step toward a possible program through which AIHA LAP would accredit laboratories that validate the performance of devices used in exposure assessment. Proficiency testing for mercury. Laboratories that use NIOSH method 6009 for sampling and analysis of mercury comprise a potential market for the AIHA Proficiency Analytical Testing Programs LLC. This project is a pilot program intended to test the technical and financial feasibility of adding a “mercury by cold vapor” analyte class to an existing PAT program. Over the years, AIHA has been a remarkably stable organization with strong financial reserves. Our IRAT policy allows us to make prudent investments in programs that have potential to increase the benefits of membership and put AIHA in a stronger position to protect worker health.