AIHA-LAP Testifies in Favor of OSHA’s Proposed Silica Standard


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Release No. SPR-14-0404-01

CONTACT:
Nicole Racadag, AIHA Communications
(703) 846-0700; nracadag@aiha.org 

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (April 4, 2014) — The AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC) joined the American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) in support of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposed rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. William (Bill) Walsh, CIH, manager of business development at Galson Laboratories, an AIHA-LAP accredited laboratory, testified on behalf of the AIHA-LAP at the April 1 public hearing in Washington, D.C.

“AIHA-LAP accredited silica laboratories are competent and use reliable test methods to analyze silica to the proposed permissible exposure limit (PEL) and action levels,” said Walsh, who serves as vice chair of the Analytical Accreditation Board of the AIHA-LAP and has more than 20 years of experience as a technical volunteer with the AIHA-LAP.

In his testimony, Walsh agreed with OSHA that the best methods to measure airborne crystalline silica from air samples taken from concentrations at the proposed PEL and action levels are X-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy. 

“While OSHA’s data shows acceptable precision in analytical analysis, more work needs to be done to improve analytical methods for silica, particularly if laboratories are to produce reliable data at or below the proposed action level of 25 µg,” added Walsh. “AIHA-LAP will work with both OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) officials to review and validate new analytical methods as they are being developed.” 

Cheryl O. Morton, managing director of the AIHA-LAP, agreed with OSHA’s proposal to require employers to ensure that samples taken to monitor employee exposures are analyzed by a laboratory that is accredited to the ISO/IEC Standard 17025 by an accrediting organization that can demonstrate compliance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011.  

“All AIHA-LAP accredited laboratories are assessed to ISO/IEC 17025 and to additional AIHA-LAP policies. AIHA-LAP itself is an internationally-recognized accrediting body that complies with ISO/IEC 17011,” said Morton.

However, AIHA-LAP did not fully agree with the proposed requirement for round robin participation.

“A well-established proficiency testing (PT) program, not a round robin, is the best approach to determine reliability, accuracy and overall competence in silica analysis,” said Morton. “As such, we believe that OSHA should specify that laboratories participate in PT programs with providers that are accredited or have demonstrated that they comply with ISO/IEC 17043:2010, Conformity Assessment-General Requirements for Proficiency Testing.”

 
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About AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs, LLC
The AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs, LLC celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. AIHA-LAP offers a group of highly acclaimed accreditation programs that has been relied on in the global scientific community since 1974.  The accreditation programs operated by AIHA-LAP meet international program requirements established under ISO/IEC 17011. AIHA-LAP is a full member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and a signatory of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA).