August 31, 2023 / Ed Rutkowski

Three Thoughts on Fostering Global Health and Safety

Three Thoughts is a SynergistNOW series based on episodes of the Healthier Workplaces Show, an AIHA video podcast.

One of the biggest challenges facing workers around the world is a lack of information related to occupational and environmental health and safety. Recorded live at AIHce EXP 2023 in Phoenix, Episode 21 of AIHA's Healthier Workplaces Show focused on ways that AIHA volunteers are working to make vital resources available to workers in developing economies. Joining host Bob Krell were Lucinette Alvarado, who was then the treasurer-elect of AIHA and the Board liaison to AIHA's International Affairs Committee (IAC), and Laurence Svirchev, who was IAC chair. The IAC has partnered with several OEHS organizations committed to improving working conditions internationally, including the Developing World Outreach Initiative, the Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network, Workplace Health Without Borders, the International Occupational Hygiene Association, and the Occupational Hygiene Training Association.

Here are a few AIHA-centric highlights from Krell's discussion with Alvarado and Svirchev.

AIHA awards "microgrants" to projects in developing countries. The Emerging Economy Microgrant Advisory Group, which started out as a subcommittee of the IAC, was established in 2021 to develop a transparent mechanism for funding education and research projects that promote health and safety in developing nations. Funds are typically awarded annually. Application instructions and an explanation of selection criteria are available. Keep an eye out for the call for applicants for 2024 grants. The deadline for applications is usually December 31.

Since 2020, a total of 34 grants have been awarded to projects around the world. This year's grants are funding training for farmers in central Uganda on how to use pesticides safely, training for roadside mechanics in Ghana on workplace safety, the production of practical guidance on occupational health and safety for small and medium-sized enterprises in Malaysia, a study of OEHS conditions for sanitation workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the promotion of OEHS in the informal economic sector in Kenya. A full list of microgrant recipients is available on the AIHA website.

Several AIHA resources are offered in Spanish. Free Spanish translations available through the AIHA website include The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic, which was updated in 2022 to address challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic; a selection of papers on COVID-19 from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene; and more than two dozen of AIHA's Back to Work Safely guidelines. Other Spanish-language resources available for purchase through the AIHA Marketplace include A Strategy for Assessing and Managing Occupational Exposures.

AIHA is looking for ambassadors to Mexico, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. The Ambassador Program is intended to support the industrial hygiene infrastructure in other countries; help host countries build their OEHS capacity; identify needed education, products, and services; and promote the profession to the international community. Criteria for appointment as an ambassador and details about the selection process are available on the AIHA website.

Listen to Episode 21 on the Healthier Workplaces Show webpage.

Related: Read this handy explanation of the various OEHS organizations dedicated to improving working conditions in underserved parts of the world.

Advocates have called on corporate responsibility programs to help end modern slavery.

From 2019, an assessment of the new North American Trade Agreement, a successor to NAFTA.

And from 2017, two leaders in Workplace Health Without Borders discussed their work in a Synergist interview.

Ed Rutkowski

Ed Rutkowski is editor-in-chief of The Synergist.


AIHA president

Thanks for the great article, Ed!

By Dina Siegel on August 31, 2023 2:40pm

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