The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and OSHA announced the formation of an agreement to establish an alliance between the two groups last week. The goal of the alliance is to focus on injury and illness prevention programs, including ergonomics, by focusing on outreach and communication, promoting a national dialogue on workplace health and safety, and concentrating on training and education, AIHA reported Friday.
“AIHA recognizes the value of continuing to collaborate with OSHA and other parties in order to cultivate healthy and safe American workplaces,” AIHA president Gayla J. McCluskey, CIH, CSP, ROH, QEP, said in an AIHA press release. “We look forward to strengthening our already solid relationship with OSHA to meet these challenges head-on.”
AIHA, an association of 12,000 occupational and environmental health and safety professionals, entered into the agreement with OSHA to develop general safety, illness prevention and ergonomic programs applicable to its members. According to AIHA, this is the first program of its kind between OSHA and an OEHS-related organization.
With the signing of the new agreement, the two associations plan to do the following:
OSHA and the AIHA agree to establish an Alliance to promote healthy and safe working conditions for all workers by:
Providing AIHA members with information and guidance that will help them protect employees’ health and safety by reducing and preventing employee exposure to ergonomic hazards.
Reaching out to AIHA members with specific guidance for developing, implementing, or improving ergonomic programs.
AIHA and OSHA will work together to affect the following outreach and communication goals:
Seeking opportunities to jointly develop and disseminate information at conferences, events, or through print and electronic media, including links from OSHA’s and AIHA web sites.
Promoting and encouraging AIHA members’ worksite participation in OSHA’s cooperative programs such as compliance assistance, the Voluntary Protection Program, Consultation, and SHARP. In addition, they will act as facilitators to members that aspire to excellence in health and safety for their worksites.
Continuing to facilitate dialog between occupational and environmental health and safety organizations and associations to maintain visibility and presence with federal and state policymakers.
Establishing avenues and processes for AIHA members to mentor and assist OSHA personnel as OSHA personnel proceed with professional certification.
OSHA and the AIHA will work together in the following ways to promote a national dialogue on workplace health and safety by:
Developing, promoting and sharing information on best worksite practices of AIHA members with others in the occupational health and safety profession through outreach by AIHA and OSHA’s various programs.
Sharing data developed by AIHA members and others that support solutions to ergonomic hazards, as well as providing examples of hazard recognition strategies and analytical tools with OSHA and others in the occupational health and safety profession. The hope is that these steps will encourage wide implementation.
Convening or participating in forums and roundtable discussions on ergonomic problems to help forge innovative solutions to ergonomic issues in the workplace.
OSHA and the AIHA will also work together to achieve the following training and education goal:
Assisting AIHA members with developing and delivering training and education programs on ergonomics hazard reduction and elimination in the workplace.