December 14, 2023 / Mark Ames and Riley Cagle

A Year of Thanks and Government Relations Accomplishments

In 2023, AIHA’s members have been amazing. This year alone, there have been more than 1,300 instances of volunteerism in government relations, a significant increase compared to last year. This level of activity and AIHA’s reputation as a trusted source of OEHS expertise have had a predictable and exciting result: AIHA was referenced in 508 state and federal rulemakings, comments, and bills—and that’s just in 2023.

There’s a lot to be thankful for. Together, we’ve built, sustained, and grown a community of volunteers dedicated to translating their technical expertise into public policy recommendations to protect workers and their communities throughout the nation.

One example of our activity is the submission of comments to government entities. The topics we addressed this year include:

  • EPA proposed rule on carbon tetrachloride
  • EPA proposed rule on perchloroethylene (PCE)
  • EPA notice of proposed rulemaking on methylene chloride (dichloromethane)
  • EPA proposed rule on trichloroethylene (TCE; in process)
  • EPA proposed rule on procedures for chemical risk evaluation under TSCA (in process)
  • OSHA regulation on temporary agricultural workers
  • OSHA proposed rule on walkaround representatives
  • OSHA notice of proposed rulemaking on PPE in construction
  • MSHA proposed rule on exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica
  • support for the Pro Codes Act
  • support of funding for EPA, DOL, NIOSH, and other OEHS agencies

Visit the AIHA website for a full list of comments submitted to policymakers.

This year, we also held our first-ever Worker Health and Safety Month and a virtual Congressional Advocacy Week, which included an online issue briefing with AIHA government relations staff focusing on supporting the Rebuild America’s Schools Act and federal funding for OEHS-related agencies and programs. The Advocacy Week included a congressional briefing focused on improving indoor environmental quality in schools and a webinar that featured a panel of reporters who cover education and infrastructure who discussed how they choose what stories to cover, what issues to investigate, and how we can work better with them to accelerate progress toward our common goals of building a better world together.

As part of our efforts to better serve our members, this year we created State Government Relations Teams, which have grown to approximately 300 volunteers throughout the nation who now regularly receive weekly updates on key legislative and regulatory developments in their states, providing them with access to the same powerful government relations tools used by professionals. When State Team members choose to take action, they can also request AIHA government relations staff assistance.

AIHA members have recently been appointed to several government advisory groups, including:

  • National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH)
  • Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH)
  • Vermont School Construction Aid Task Force
  • Maryland Workgroup on Mold Standards and Remediation (forthcoming)

Looking ahead to next year, there are many government relations engagement opportunities, including:

  • meet with students, teachers/professors, community members, and policymakers to encourage more elementary, secondary, and college students to pursue careers in OEHS
  • join one or more State Teams
  • help draft comments from AIHA to agencies or legislators​
  • serve on a government advisory board or council​
  • meet with a member of Congress​ or staff​
  • meet with a state legislator​
  • send emails to members of Congress or state legislators​
  • meet with agency leaders and staff​
  • meet with your governor
  • sign up for action alerts from AIHA’s Advocacy Center

In 2024, we can expect continued gridlock in Congress; however, federal agencies are expected to propose many new regulations, including those related to the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Although most state legislatures are only in session between January and May, state legislators will be very active. Each year, approximately 100,000 state bills are introduced. Many of these bills address OEHS in some way, which makes awareness, strategic focus, outreach, and consistent engagement with policymakers key to helping them craft wise public policies.

Building on AIHA’s Public Policy Agenda and broader OEHS workforce pipeline development activities, we’re enhancing our focus on increasing the number of OEHS professionals and AIHA members—including subscribers to our EHS Network program—in 2024 and beyond. More on this to come.

The first rays of 2024 are beginning to appear on the horizon, marking the time when we wonder and dream, shaping hopes into plans as we prepare to act, poised for the challenges that await, confident that, together, we can achieve our goals.

Mark Ames and Riley Cagle

Mark Ames is AIHA’s director of government relations.

Riley Cagle is AIHA’s advocacy associate.


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