Index of Media Alerts

Media Alert: California’s Governor Signs Assembly Bill 1596 Into Law for Fentanyl-Contaminated Properties

10/17/2019

What: Gov. Gavin Newsom of California has signed into law Assembly Bill 1596, which renames the Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act as the Methamphetamine or Fentanyl Contaminated Property Cleanup Act. This new law aims to protect those who live or work in California by establishing interim cleanup standards for the cleanup of fentanyl labs until permanent standards can be developed by the state or federal government. As a result of this legislation, local health officers will be provided with directions on how to provide adequate notice to property owners and renters of property contaminated by fentanyl as well as guidance on overseeing the cleanup of these properties. The law also forces homeowners to notify potential renters or buyers that an overdose occurred on the premises. The American Industrial Hygiene Association lent its support for the legislation as it moved through the California state legislature, because the establishment of procedures and standards for the cleanup of sites contaminated by fentanyl will help protect the health and safety of those who live or work in the state.

Why: As the use of fentanyl and its analogues increases, so does the risk of exposure. Exposure to fentanyl and analogues may result in the abrupt onset of potentially life-threatening respiratory depression if exposure is via inhalation, contact with other mucous membranes, a needlestick, or ingestion.

Where: For more information on California Assembly Bill 1596, please visit California Legislative Information’s website.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness, or impairment or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community. AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards.

More than half of AIHA’s nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic, and government sectors. Visit www.aiha.org for more information

Contact: For additional information, contact Mark Ames, AIHA’s director of government relations, at mames@aiha.org.

2019 Media Alert: American Industrial Hygiene Association Offers Guidance for Flood Response

7/12/2019

What: As the Gulf Coast braces for Tropical Storm Barry to make landfall as a hurricane, the American Industrial Hygiene Association is reaching out to local media, offering resources on planning and preparedness prior to the storms, as well as cautioning the public and workers during the flood recovery and cleanup.

Why: Floods not only impact the public health, property, and environment of those in the immediate zone, but their effects can ripple hundreds of miles away. In 2018, flooding due to extreme weather claimed 80 lives, and the cost to property and crop damage was a staggering $1.6 billion. Communities affected must deal not only with the dangers of rising water, but also with the hazards of a flood’s aftermath, such as contamination of drinking water due to broken pipes; mold and mildew thriving in post-flooding conditions, causing serious respiratory issues; or property risks due to structural damage, gas leaks, chemicals, and contaminated materials. These potential hazards are why AIHA urges members of the public to have their property inspected by certified experts before beginning cleanup and recovery. AIHA’s “Health and Safety Issues in Natural Disasters” guidance can help consumers and industrial hygienists navigate through government agencies and private industry references addressing potential hazards that may be encountered after a disaster occurs.

Workers responding to flooded areas face the greatest risks. They can better protect themselves through education about the various hazards commonly associated with floods. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration website has several resources available for workers on dealing with flood-related issues, such as biohazards, debris removal, and pests like rodents and insects. Additionally, AIHA’s Consultants Listing, the premier directory of industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health and safety consultants, contains a listing of industrial hygiene professionals who can provide guidance during flood recovery and cleanup.

Where: For more information, visit AIHA’s Flood Response Resource website.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness, or impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community.

AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards. More than half of AIHA’s nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic, and government sectors.

Contact: For additional information please contact Sue Marchese​, AIHA's Director of Communications.

2019 Media Alert: AIHA and IAQA Collaborate for the Update of Indoor Air Quality Body of Knowledge

4/1/2019

What: Today, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, in partnership with the Indoor Air Quality Association, released the updated Indoor Air Quality Practitioners Body of Knowledge (IAQ Practitioners BoK).

Why: The IAQ Practitioners BoK outlines the competencies needed in the area of indoor air quality practice. For the past 12 months a task force of highly qualified subject matter experts from AIHA and IAQA collaborated to review this document.

The 2019 IAQ Practitioners BoK contains the following updates:

  • Assessments, such as data gathering, limitations and walkthrough inspection
  • Buildings and building systems, including building science and Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Mitigation of indoor air/environmental quality problems

This update of the IAQ Practitioners BoK takes into account the changes in the IAQ field that have taken place since the original BoK was issued,” said Donald Weekes, CIH, AIHA Fellow and member of the task force. “The BoK will serve as the best criteria to measure competencies of the practitioners in the IAQ field.

This BoK represents the power of a strong collaboration between industry partner associations. On behalf of the IAQA Board of Directors, I am proud to have been a part of this process,” said Jay M. Stake, IAQA President.

Where: To download the IAQ Practitioners BoK, visit AIHA’s website.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness or impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community. AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards.

More than half of AIHA’s nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic and government sectors.

Visit www.aiha.org for more information.

About IAQA

The Indoor Air Quality Association is the leading organization dedicated to developing, educating and supporting its multidisciplinary membership to identify and resolve indoor environmental challenges. IAQA was established in 1995 and is the nation’s largest indoor air quality trade association, with over 2,000 members and more than 20 local chapters across the United States and Canada. More information is available ale at www.iaqa.org.

Contact: For additional information, contact AIHA’s senior project manager of Scientific and Technical Initiatives, Stacy Calhoun.

2019 Media Alert: AIHA Supports the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309)

3/6/2019

What: The American Industrial Hygiene Association announced its support for the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309), which was recently introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn.

Why: The bill, which is supported by more than 30 members of Congress, would call on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a national standard requiring health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. This legislation is especially important because health care and social service workers face extremely high rates of workplace violence.

"Data show that health care and social service workers are nearly six times more likely to experience workplace violence," said Cynthia Ostrowski, CIH, president of AIHA. "Strategies to prevent violence against this category of workers are urgently needed, because we cannot expect them to care about our health and safety if we can't guarantee theirs."

Each year, approximately 2 million Americans report having been the victim of workplace violence. Workers in the health care and social service industries experience the highest rates of injuries caused by workplace violence: They are nearly five times more likely to suffer a workplace violence injury. A 2016 comprehensive review of "Workplace Violence Against Health Care Workers in the United States," published by the New England Journal of Medicine, reports that, although employees in the health care and social service sectors account for 12.2 percent of the workforce, nearly 75 percent of workplace assaults occur in a health care setting. The third leading cause of death for health care workers is workplace violence.

Preventing workplace violence is part of AIHA's Public Policy Agenda, which focuses on 15 critical issues that play an important role in creating a healthy and safe work environment.

Where: For strategies on keeping work sites safe, please read Synergist's "Preventing Workplace Violence" article. For more information on H.R. 1309, please visit Congress' website.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness or impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community. AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards. More than half of AIHA's nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic and government sectors.

Contact: For additional information, contact Mark Ames, AIHA's director of government relations.

2018 Media Alert: AIHA Offers Guidance to California on Wildfire Response and Recovery

11/13/2018

What: As the wildfires that have claimed at least 48 lives continue to rage across California, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is reaching out to the relevant government entities in the state, offering resources on wildfire response, assistance and recommendations for protecting the health and safety of residents and recovery workers.

Why: The impact of wildfires on public health, property and the environment is felt by those in the immediate burn zone and can extend several hundred miles away. Communities downwind from the fire may be affected as ash and other smoke components produced by the intense heat of the combustion are lofted into the air and travel great distances by prevailing winds. These potentially hazardous materials remain in and traverse the atmosphere for varying lengths of time, resulting in possible widespread and prolonged public exposures. Wildfire particles can migrate and infiltrate the built environment through open doors and windows, on shoes and clothing, through the ventilation system and through unperceived gaps in the building envelope. Homeowners returning to burned-out residential areas may be exposed to ash that contains toxic metals such as lead, copper and chromium, in addition to potential exposures to asbestos and decomposition products from pesticides and other hazardous materials that may have been stored in the area.

AIHA has a large number of free resources and services that are immediately deployable:

  • AIHA’s “Health and Safety Issues in Natural Disasters”: A guidance document published in 2017 that provides a list of resources for addressing potential hazards during and after floods, tornadoes and wildfires.
  • AIHA’s Wildfire Specific Hazards: Serves as a hub for a number of resources from AIHA and its partners on what to do before, during and after a wildfire has occurred
  • AIHA’s Consultants Listing: The leading directory of industrial hygiene and other occupational and environmental health and safety consultants. Government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regularly refer consumer inquiries to AIHA consultants for assistance. AIHA’s Consultants Listing is also frequently referenced by the media as a source for consumers who are searching for an IH or OEHS consultant.
  • “Industrial Hygienists’ Roles and Responsibilities in Emergency Preparedness and Response White Paper”

Where: For more information, visit AIHA’s Disaster Response Resource Center website.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness or impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community. AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards.

More than half of AIHA’s nearly 8,500 members are certified industrial hygienists and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic and government sectors.

Contact: For additional information, contact Mark Ames, AIHA’s Director of Government Relations.

2018 Media Alert: AIHA Comments on Expanding Employment, Training, and Apprenticeship Opportunities for 16- and 17-Year-Olds in Health Care Occupations

11/2/2018

What: On November 1, 2018, AIHA submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor on their proposed rule on the expansion employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities for 16-and-17-year-olds in healthcare occupations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (Docket Number: 2018-20996 / RIN: 1235-AA22)

Why: Through this rulemaking, the U.S. Department of Labor proposes to remove the prohibition regarding the independent operation of power-driven patient lifts by 16- and 17-year-olds from the Department’s Hazardous Occupations Orders (HO) 7. AIHA is concerned that the Department provides no scientific evidence for this proposed rule. Protecting workers and patients is the first priority, standing before all others. It is possible that the technologies of power-driven patient lifts and healthcare industry work environments have improved since the 2010-2011 changes to HO 7, such that the hazards to 16- and 17-year-olds have been reduced. However, the Department has provided no evidence that this is the case, and absent a new study by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), it would be irresponsible to place young workers at greater risk in an industry with one of the highest rates of injuries based upon a handful of letters and tangential anecdotes.

For these reasons, AIHA strongly urges the Department to protect America’s young healthcare workers by taking the following steps:

  • Issuing a new rule that would prohibit 16- and 17-year-olds from manually lifting patients who cannot bear weight;
  • Maintaining the current conditions under which 16- and 17-year-olds can operate power-driven patient lifts under Hazardous Occupations Order 7;
  • Asking NIOSH to revisit the work it conducted from 2010 to 2011, and conduct a new assessment to determine the circumstances, if any, that 16- and 17-year-olds can safely operate power-driven patient lifts, either independently or as part of a team with another employee who is at least 18 years of age.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness, impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community. We provide comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards. More than half of the nearly 8,500 members are certified industrial hygienists (CIHs) and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic, and government sectors.

Where: To view AIHA’s comments on this rulemaking, please visit Federal and State Letters and Testimonies.

Contact: For additional information please contact Mark Ames, AIHA’s Director of Government Relations.