AIHA, Partners Urge Congress to Act in Response to Soaring Overdose Rates In December, AIHA, the National Safety Council, and more than 50 other organizations signed a stakeholder letter urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to hold an immediate hearing on the Workplace Overdose Reversal Kits (WORK) to Save Lives Act (H.R. 5420/S. 2948). The signees also encourage members of Congress to include employers, health and safety professionals, workers, and other stakeholders in discussions about how to save lives from opioid overdoses.
Preliminary estimates published by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics in May showed that more than 109,000 individuals died from drug overdoses in 2022, with almost 80,000 of those deaths involving opioid overdoses. The stakeholder letter from AIHA and others also highlights data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed a 536 percent increase in drug overdoses at work since 2011.
“The effects of opioid use and misuse are not isolated to work or home environments, and the potential for opioid use disorder may be preceded by injuries that happen in the workplace, with the consequences affecting both an individual’s working life as well as their home life,” NIOSH explains on its topic page on opioids.
The WORK to Save Lives Act was introduced in the House of Representatives on Sept. 13, 2023, with bipartisan support, and the Senate bill was introduced later the same month. This legislation would require opioid overdose reversal medication to be present in all federal buildings and require that federal employees be trained on its use. It would also have OSHA create non-mandatory guidance for private-sector employers on how to access opioid overdose reversal medication and train their employees on how to use it.
“We urge U.S. legislators to include the perspectives of employers, health and safety professionals, workers, and other stakeholders in this critical conversation,” said AIHA CEO Lawrence D. Sloan. “As professionals committed to preserving occupational and environmental health and safety, AIHA remains steadfast in supporting initiatives that address the urgent challenges posed by opioid overdoses.”
For additional information, read AIHA’s press release. Please email questions to Mark Ames, AIHA’s director of government relations.
Continuing Education Committee Accepting Membership Applications AIHA is now accepting applications for positions on the Continuing Education Committee. The CEC comprises 12 members who serve four single-year terms. The CEC’s mission is to ensure the highest possible quality for AIHA training programs and educational opportunities for professionals in occupational and environmental health. The CEC provides one of the levels of technical peer review of AIHA’s professional development courses, or PDCs. CEC members are also asked to audit new educational offerings, which provides an opportunity for them to earn certification maintenance (CM) hours at no cost.
Selection of new CEC members will be completed in the spring, and terms will begin with AIHA Connect 2024 in Columbus, Ohio.
Applications are due by March 18. Prospective volunteers are asked to submit a current resume or CV and fill out an application listing their experience, knowledge, and primary areas of interest. The application is available on AIHA’s website. For more information, email Erin Breece, CEC staff liaison, or visit the committee webpage.
Get Involved with the Conference Program Committee AIHA seeks applicants for membership in the Conference Program Committee (CPC), which is responsible for reviewing and selecting education sessions for AIHA Connect. The CPC’s goals include developing an innovative program for AIHA Connect that meets the educational needs of the profession and long-range planning for continuous improvement of the technical quality of the annual conference. The committee is intended to be representative of the AIHA membership and the AIHA Connect audience and bring subject matter expertise and the conference attendee's perspective to the deliberations over which session proposals to choose.
More information about the CPC and how to apply is available on AIHA's website. Applications are due by March 18.
Subscribe or Contribute to SynergistNOW The SynergistNOW blog offers ideas, insights, and perspectives on important topics affecting industrial hygiene professionals, written by and for experienced IHs, researchers, academics, and AIHA leaders. SynergistNOW typically features two new posts per week. Recent posts have covered topics such as risk characterization and risk management, OSHA’s most-cited standards, exposure judgments, and the next revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
SynergistNOW is available to everyone with an interest in the IH and OEHS fields, but even AIHA members must subscribe. To read SynergistNOW or subscribe, visit AIHA's website.
Are you interested in contributing a guest blog post? If you have a topic in mind, please submit a short description of your proposed post to the editors before you begin to write. The SynergistNOW blog author guidelines can be found online. Questions may also be directed to the
In Memoriam Paul B. Ostergaard of Erie, Pennsylvania, passed away on Dec. 27, 2023. He was 99. Ostergaard was a registered professional engineer and worked at companies including Carrier Corporation; Ostergaard Associates, where he was owner, chair, and president; and Ostergaard Acoustical Associates, where he worked as senior consultant. Read his full obituary on Legacy.com.
Robert E. Vazzi, CIH, passed away in Savannah, Georgia, on Dec. 14, 2023. He was 65. Vazzi previously worked for Clark Oil and Shell Oil Company in Illinois, the St. Louis County Department of Health, and OSHA. He retired as an OSHA area director in December 2020. Read his full obituary on the Williamson Funeral Homes website.
Call for Proposals: Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals Conference AIHA is hosting the prestigious Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals (OEESC) Conference in 2024. Join the leading international gathering on skin exposure to chemicals, where professionals unite to exchange ideas, network, and address current issues. Proposals are being accepted through Feb. 13.
Conference organizers seek proposals on dermal exposure assessment, health effects, dermal risk assessment, ultraviolet light exposure, and intervention and control approaches. More information is available from AIHA's website. To submit a proposal, fill out this form.
Vote in the 2024 AIHA Board Election From Feb. 9 to March 1, AIHA members will vote in the 2024 AIHA Board of Directors election. AIHA will partner once again with ElectionBuddy to provide a safe, secure web-based voting system during this year’s election cycle. Instructions on how to vote in the election will be emailed to members this month. More information about the candidates for the 2024 election appears elsewhere in this issue.
Email questions to Thursa Pecoraro.
Prevention through Design Award Nominations AIHA has joined the Prevention through Design (PtD) Award partnership with NIOSH, the American Society of Safety Professionals, and the National Safety Council. The PtD Award recognizes individuals, teams, businesses, and other organizations that have eliminated or reduced hazards through design or redesign efforts or have contributed to the body of knowledge that enables PtD solutions. Nominations for the 2024 PtD Award are due March 1. Learn more.
Review AIHA’s Revised DEI Policy AIHA invites members to share their feedback on AIHA’s revised diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policy (PDF). The policy states AIHA’s commitment to fostering a culture and environment supportive of DEI and accessibility for all members and volunteers. It also prohibits harassment and exclusionary or threatening behavior. Submit responses by Feb. 16.
Proposed Changes from ABET ABET, the organization that accredits college and university programs in scientific disciplines, is considering changes to the accreditation criteria for industrial hygiene curricula. Comments on the proposed criteria will be accepted through June 15. The proposed changes and a comment submission form are available on the ABET website.

2024 ABET Awards Nominations ABET seeks nominations for its 2024 awards. Information about ABET’s awards and award nomination kits can be found on the organization’s website. Nominations are due by April 20. Learn more.
Dates and Deadlines
Feb. 6–April 4 Virtual Comprehensive Industrial Hygiene Review course. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12–2 p.m. ET, cosponsored by the University of Michigan and the Michigan Industrial Hygiene Society.
Feb. 9–March 1 Vote in the 2024 AIHA Board of Directors election.
March 1 Deadline to submit nominations for the 2024 Prevention through Design Award.
March 4–8 AIHA University’s “Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene” course to be held virtually via Zoom.
March 18 Deadline to submit applications to join AIHA’s Continuing Education and Conference Program Committees.
For a complete list of events, visit AIHA's website.