Strength in Numbers
AIHA has a long history of collaboration with allied organizations in pursuit of common goals. Recognizing that partnerships are often the best way to serve our mission, we’ve incorporated collaboration into our strategic plan, which calls for us to work with other occupational and environmental health and safety groups to develop educational resources for targeted audiences and to expand awareness of AIHA. Recently, we’ve begun discussing potential partnerships with associations whose areas of focus converge with the work of AIHA’s technical committees. Here are just a few examples of current and potential partnerships:
- AIHA’s Healthcare Working Group has collaborated with the American Association for Occupational Health Nurses and the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses on various projects, including articles for The Synergist.
- The accreditation of academic programs through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology offers several opportunities for collaboration. For example, AIHA takes the lead in reviewing academic programs for the Health Physics Society, and we share responsibility with the American Society for Safety Professionals for academic programs related to environmental health and safety. We are actively discussing how HPS chapters and AIHA local sections might work together locally, including sharing our respective speaker bureaus when presenting at regional events.
- AIHA’s Aerosol Technology Committee recently committed to working with ACGIH on updating its well-regarded book on bioaerosols.
- AIHA’s Teen Workplace Health and Safety Committee is exploring opportunities to submit an article to the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical Education. A special edition on chemical safety is planned for later this year. The proposed article would include metrics that could be incorporated into case studies, which could further impact state legislation and regulations.
- Last year, AIHA member Lito Ignacio authored an article on respiratory protection that appeared in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ magazine, Chemical Engineering Progress. In addition, volunteers from AIHA local sections and AIChE chapters teamed up to participate in two events in Houston last year: the Houston Science and Engineering Fair and the Houston Scout Fair.
- In February, AIHA signed a multi-association Memorandum of Understanding titled “Allied Industry Partners Agreement” in which we and other organizations—including the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, the American Bio Recovery Association, and the Restoration Industry Association—agreed to jointly promote educational and technical resources.
- The AIHA Ergonomics Committee and Healthcare Working Group are collaborating with the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society on a new white paper on home healthcare, scheduled to be published in the coming two months. AIHA and HFES are discussing how we might work together on other white papers targeting practitioners, consumers, and government officials.
- In 2018, AIHA partnered with the National Association for Environmental Management on a study (PDF) addressing the preparedness of recent EHS graduates and early-career EHS generalists as they enter the workforce.
- Finally, and most recently, AIHA staff and I met with ASSP’s leadership to discuss collaboration across multiple fronts, including strengthening our relationship in the standards development arena, exploring ways that the AIHA Safety Committee can better integrate its projects in relation to ASSP, and developing a new model framework through which our organizations might work together to develop unified resources for occupational health and safety professionals in the Total Worker Health space. Separately, our Women in IH (WIH) and ASSP’s Women in Safety Excellence (WISE) groups have co-hosted well-attended leadership forums around the country. WIH and WISE plan to continue collaborating on these events.
There are many other examples of collaboration to report on. I encourage those who serve on an AIHA committee to consider whether other organizations might benefit from working with AIHA on a specific project. By leveraging the expanded reach of other OEHS associations, we can come closer to achieving our vision of a world where all workers are healthy and safe.