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|Established in 1980||August 6, 2002|
|In this issue:||[Acting President's Message] | [Board Meeting Summary] | [Upcoming Training] | [August Meeting Info] | [September Meeting Info] | [AIHA Gov't Affairs News]|
Message from the Acting President
At the last board meeting on June 28, 2002. The nominating commitee has still not been successful in recruiting a candidate to become the new president of the local section. We need some help real soon.
Certification Maintenance Points
AIHA Certification Points are included here in response to recent questions 2001-2002.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY DEGREE PROGRAM
California State University, Sacramento’s Occupational Health and Safety program has been revised and expanded, effective Fall of 2002. In addition to offering a Bachelor of Science degree, the program will offer interested student the opportunity to obtain a minor in Occupational Health and Safety. The minor was developed for students interested in expanding their knowledge in the field of OH&S while completing an undergraduate degree in a related science or management related program.
Please contact Michael E. Nave at email@example.com or (916) 278-6306 if your organization is interested in obtaining additional information on:
August 22, 2002 - "IH Field Study at the Office of State Publishing"
September 4, 2002 Speaker: Gerry Fleisher - Quest
CONGRESS TAKES FOURTH OF JULY BREAK -
Congress is now on their traditional Fourth of July break and will return next week to begin the "home stretch" of the 107th Congress. While the remaining Congressional schedule for the year has Congress adjourning around October 4, insiders do not believe this will be possible.
When one takes into consideration the Congressional summer break entailing nearly the entire month of August, there is simply not enough time to complete the Congressional agenda. None of the 13 annual appropriations bills have been completed, which means that most of the work in September will be spent on these bills. Forget other issues, there simply isn’t time.
In meetings on the Hill this past week, AIHA government affairs staff heard from more than one source that it looks like Congress may recess for the fall elections in early October and then return following the elections. This means a “lame-duck” Congress will be making major decisions. We live in interesting times!
DR. JOHN HOWARD APPOINTED TO LEAD NIOSH
After more than a year and a half without a permanent director of NIOSH, Secretary of HHS Tommy Thompson has finally appointed a new director. Dr. John Howard, head of the Occupational Safety and Health Division in the state of California since 1991 will assume the directorship in mid-July. The position does not require Senate confirmation and will be for a term of six years.
AIHA is pleased with this appointment. Not only do we believe Dr. Howard has the credentials to lead NIOSH through many important issues in the next six years, but AIHA believes that NIOSH is even more important today because of homeland security issues.
The appointment of Dr. Howard comes on the heels of a May letter AIHA sent to President Bush and Secretary Thompson urging them to move forward with appointment of a new director. AIHA indicated it was not acceptable to leave this position open for more than a year and a half.
LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO BAN ASBESTOS
Senator Patty Murray of Washington has introduced legislation that would essentially ban asbestos in the United States by 2005. The bill, S 2641, would revisit the EPA attempt back in 1989 to ban this substance.
The EPA attempt was overturned by a Court of Appeals in 1991. While new uses of asbestos were banned, existing ones were not. This legislation would ban all future uses of asbestos.
It is expected that this legislation will be somewhat controversial if there is time for debate. With Congress wrapping up their work before the fall elections, it will be very difficult for this legislation to move forward in this session of Congress. Insiders do believe, however, that Senator Murray will hold hearings on the issue and will probably re-introduce the legislation early next year.
AIHA has no existing position on the use of asbestos. Previous AIHA efforts have focused on the requirements for professionals involved in asbestos abatement and not on the substance itself. ERGONOMICS LEGISLATION MOVES FORWARD
As expected, a Senate Committee has taken the first step in moving ergonomics legislation forward. The bill, S 2184 introduced by Senator John Breaux, would mandate that OSHA promulgate an ergonomics regulation within two years.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in late June passed the bill out on a party-line vote. There was talk of several possible amendments that would be attempted by the Republicans, but at the last minute they decided they could not win on these amendments and they therefore decided to let the bill move forward as written.
However, the bill is far from passed. As a matter of fact, no one is quite sure what will happen next. Everyone agrees that a stand-alone bill on ergonomics will never be enacted. If it succeeds in the Senate, the House will never enact it. Labor Secretary Chao has also publicly indicated that she would recommend a Presidential veto if the bill ever makes its way to President Bush.
That leaves the option of attaching the bill to another piece of legislation. The most logical would be the Labor appropriations bill. But again, troubles loom. Republicans have threatened a filibuster if this occurs and there would not be enough votes to override the filibuster. Could it be attached to some other legislation? Possible, but at this stage of the session, doubtful.
This is what keeps Washington interesting!
MOLD LEGISLATION INTRODUCED
In yet another issue of interest to AIHA, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has introduced his long-awaited legislation on mold. The bill, HR 5040 and titled the “United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act of 2002”, is a broad bill that entails many different facets pertaining to the issue of mold.
The thrust of the bill is to create a national toxic mold hazard insurance program and indoor mold hazard assistance. There are also provisions regarding housing and real property sales. For AIHA, our interest lies in the sections dealing with the qualifications of individuals involved with mold inspection and remediation.
AIHA had met with staff of Rep. Conyers urging them to assure the public that these individuals were qualified and that laboratories used for analysis were accredited. The final bill addresses the qualifications aspect, but does not provide for what one would call “pre-qualified” individuals. The bill mandates EPA to promulgate standards for certification of mold inspectors, mold remediators, mold testing labs, mold risk assessors and industrial hygienist involved with mold remediation planning.
AIHA would like to see the bill be a little more specific in regards to this, but the real work will be to work with EPA on these standards if the legislation is enacted.
Will the bill be enacted? It is doubtful this will occur in the time remaining in the 107th session. But it will return after the first of the year – you can bet on it!
READ THIS LEGISLATION FOR YOURSELF
For more information on federal legislation, visit the AIHA Federal Legislative Action Center within the members-only section of the AIHA web page.
Members are able to follow all federal legislation of interest to AIHA. This includes access to legislation by subject matter, legislative text, current status of the legislation, and AIHA position. Members also have access to a directory of all elected officials and senior agency personnel and can send e-mail messages to their elected officials indicating support or opposition on any piece of legislation or simply find the address and telephone number of specific offices.
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It was first posted on August 7, 2002.