U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Kicks Off Tuesday’s Conference Events
MONTREAL (May 21, 2013) — The second day of the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo (AIHce) 2013 began with a General Session called, “A Conversation with Dr. David Michaels,” featuring David Michaels, MPH, PhD, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor. Dr. Michaels participated in a “Meet the Expert” style discussion, moderated by John Henshaw, CIH, Vice President of the Academy of Industrial Hygiene.
The conversation focused on a broad range of current topics and issues affecting occupational and environmental health and safety professionals today, particularly the future of the industrial hygiene profession.
“We're only as good as the people who succeed us,” said Dr. Michaels. “We really have to be creative and think about ways to encourage college students who are taking technical classes to see that this [industrial hygiene] is interesting work that they can do well.”
Dr. Michaels added, “I commend the American Industrial Hygiene Association for encouraging younger people to get into the field.”
Tuesday’s conference events also included the13th Annual Upton Sinclair Memorial Lecture for Outstanding EHS Investigative Reporting. The lecture entitled, “Breaking the Silence: The Importance of Public Records for Worker Safety at Sensient Flavors,” was presented by Tony Cook, an Indianapolis Star reporter who covered the investigation of the Sensient plant where federal health officials found a third of the plant’s roughly 100 production workers had experienced abnormally restrictive lung function.
In his presentation, Cook discussed the road blocks he faced in his reporting and the essential role that NIOSH, the Indiana OSHA, and federal and state court public records played.
“I began chasing down a long, long paper trail,” said Cook.
When Cook reached out to companies that were customers of Sensient, both Starbucks and the Campbell Soup Company responded with workplace safety investigations of the plant. According to Cook, Sensient has promised $4 million in safety upgrades since his article was published.
“The story was well-received when it came out,” he added.
Coming up on Wednesday, May 22 at AIHce 2013:
General Session at 8:00 am in the Palais Main Auditorium (517): “Your Guide to Total Worker Health™” will feature L. Casey Chosewood, MD, Senior Medical Officer for Total Worker Health™, NIOSH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.
UnSession at 10:00 am in the Palais (520c): Sponsored by the Students and Early Career Professionals and Career & Employment Services Committees, the UnSession will provide an intimate, free-flow of ideas that traditional sessions frequently leave wanting and will address issues and concerns of importance to early career professionals.
23rd Annual Student Poster Session at 10:00 am in the Palais (Expo): Students will discuss their research and two posters will be selected “Best of Session.”
For more news, information and updates from the conference, please visit the AIHce 2013 Virtual Press Room or follow #AIHce on Twitter. The full conference program is available at http://aihce2013.org/.
Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA’s 10,000 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia.