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News + Events

The Galson Blog

Bill Walsh CIH


AIHA Ends Role as a Standards Development Organization

AIHA Ends Role as a Standards Development Organization Last November the AIHA Board of Directors voted to end AIHA’s for ANSI Standards. AIHA currently serves as the secretariat for three ANSI committees (Z9-ventilation; Z10-management systems; and Z88-respirators) and has representatives on 18 additional standards committees and technical advisory groups. It has also decided to stop WEEL’s (Workplace Environmental Exposure Levels) and BEELs (Biological Environmental Exposure Levels) effective January 1 of this year. AIHA is working with other organizations to find new homes for these programs. In September 2011, the WEEL Committee was approached by TERA (Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment) with a proposal to house the WEEL development activities within TERA under the recently formed Occupational Alliance for Risk Science (OARS). TERA is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The mission of the organization is to support public health protection through the best use of toxicity and exposure information. This proposal was accepted and went into effect January first. The membership reaction to these moves has been acrimonious. Many see the actions as a retreat from our primary purpose as a workplace health guardian. Others see it as another indication of the general decline of the profession. I’ve rarely in my 32 years in IH seen such an outcry to a board decision. Why was this action taken? The board says that a shrinking membership, diminished economic resources, and lack of impact of the sponsored activities have mandated that our leadership spend those resources with care. Little used or perceived ineffective programs (such as the also discontinued Synergist Test Series, which had only 120 participants) are being phased out in order to maintain the fiscal health of the organization. This is painful to the people who have invested a great deal of time and effort in supporting the discontinued programs but is symptomatic of the difficult times in which we live. All organizations (including families) have had to take a hard look at how their money is spent. What does this mean to the average IH? If there is a program or service that AIHA provides that you use and see as essential, you had best become an advocate for its continued survival. A number of members said they had no idea the Board action was being taken, although the Board says it operated transparently. People need to stay informed and take the time to educate themselves in issues that could affect them professionally. For more information see the following links:'sChangingRoleinConsensusStandards.aspx

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