Main Program, Thursday


Thursday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:35 p.m., 6 November

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

General Session #3

OSH Rights in Asia – Challenges and Opportunities

Omana George, Programme Coordinator – Occupational & Environmental Health Program, Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Kowloon, Hong Kong

A majority of the working poor in Asia are working in unsafe workplaces that are not only endangering their lives and the community but also severely impacting the environment. Every year about 1.1 million workers die in Asia due to work related reasons. In 2013, on International Workers Memorial Day, the ILO said that occupational diseases (ODs) were the invisible killer of the region in comparison to industrial accidents and that six times more people die every year globally due to ODs. Industrial accidents in the region namely the Tazreen, Rana Plaza, Ali Enterprises and the Jilin Poultry Farm accident being the worst in the past couple of decades demonstrates that workplaces have not become any safer than they were in the past two decades. Instead, the lives of people continue to be placed below profits leading to realities where unsafe factories are being certified as safe, workers are being locked into hazardous workplaces, the infrastructure in the countries in the region are either insufficient to monitor the safety of workplaces or they are ill-equipped to do the same and rampant with corrupt practices.
Visibility and recognition of occupational and environmental victims remains a major challenge and thus contributes to their continued exclusion and marginalization. Victims and their families face a hard task in getting compensation which is a perennial obstacle encountered in their fight for justice because of the impediments in the system for diagnosis – lack of medical practitioners who are experiences in diagnosing ODs, lack of resources put in by the governments in identifying and diagnosing those who have fallen sick by their jobs and employers who are apathetic to the situation who just fire sick workers and replace them with new ones. Therefore, victims end up paying the medical and treatment costs themselves end up in debt and are further pushed into poverty.
Learn about the efforts of AMRC and ANROEV in dealing with these complex issues and promoting workers’ rights in Asia.

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Morning Networking, Expo & Poster Break


10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Breakout Session #3, Technical Track A

Dangerous Decibels in the Workplace:  Preventing Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus are common consequences of exposures to hazardous sounds both in and apart from the workplace. In Singapore, the Workplace Safety and Health Council reported that the majority (88%) of the total Occupational Disease cases confirmed in 2012 were NIHL. The purpose of this presentation is to present a summary of the Dangerous Decibels evidenced-based NIHL and tinnitus prevention education program and show its applicability in changing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to sound exposure and use of hearing protective strategies in children and adults. Summative evaluations demonstrated significant improvements in hearing health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors across age groups and settings. The educational approach that initially targeted children was easily and effectively adapted to adult populations. This prompted a wide range of dissemination to occupational and non-occupational populations.

William Hal Martin, PhD,
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of the Audiology MSc programme Centre for Hearing, Speech and Balance; Co-Director, Dangerous Decibels Programme, National University of Singapore
10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Breakout Session #3, Management-Technical Track B

Technical (& Management) Potpourri

10:15 a.m – 10:45 a.m.
Bioaerosols: What IHs Need to Know about Biological Hazards in the Future
The impact of biological hazards in the workplace has grown in the last twenty years even though many of these hazards have been well documented for hundreds of years. Traditionally biological hazards were centered in the agricultural industries but today they impact on many workplaces, including farms, health care facilities, biofuel plants, schools, mine sites, biotechnology laboratories and offices.

Bioaerosols are defined as airborne contaminants that originate from eukarayotic (plants, animal, fungi and protista) and prokarayotic (eubacteria, archaebacteria) sources. They were initially sampled by the collection of aerosols in a midget impinger containing a liquid medium, and then later by direct impaction onto agar plates. Initially, the analysis was just total colony counts with no identification/speciation. Today, improved sampling and analytical technologies enable identification of bacteria and fungi species and/or strains depending on the collection media, sampling instrument and analytical technology available to the hygienist.
A future of sampling for biological hazards includes:
• A wider range of sampling media
• Standardized sampling techniques for airborne particulates, as well as surface and liquid sampling.
• Use of chemical indicators to assess microbial loading of dust (endotoxin, peptidoglycan, lipopolysaccharide, muramic acid and ergosterol).
• Genomic sequencing of both cultured isolates and environmental samplers (dust, water, faeces) to better determine the potential agents that cause adverse health impacts.
This presentation will discuss these and other bioaerosol sampling techniques that industrial hygienists will be using in the future.

Sue Reed,​ Associate Professor in Public Health,
Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia; Dr. Maggie Davidson, Dr. Joshua Schaeffer, Dr. Stephen Reynolds, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Asbestos Control and Abatement
Asbestos is one of the workplace health hazards that attract worldwide attention. Exposure to asbestos can cause deadly diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Alarming cases of asbestos-related diseases have been reported by the UK and WHO. In Singapore, a total of 102 cases of asbestosis and occupational mesothelioma has been confirmed since 1971. The use of asbestos in buildings and the import of raw asbestos were banned in the late 1980s. Current exposure to asbestos at workplace arises mostly from asbestos-removal work and activities disturbing asbestos-containing materials present in buildings or other structures.

This paper presents Singapore’s experience in controlling asbestos over the last few decades. It highlights the multi-pronged strategies for managing asbestos including standard setting, targeted intervention, capability building, stakeholder engagement, and partnering relevant regulatory and statutory bodies. It discusses the challenges in developing and implementing the National Asbestos Control Programme which aims to prevent asbestos-related diseases. It provides an overview of the newly enacted Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) (Asbestos) Regulations to strengthen control on work involving asbestos, and to enhance protection of persons against asbestos. It also covers the revised WSH Guidelines on Asbestos Management and Removal which provides compliance assistance to stakeholders. There is no singular solution to the complex issues of asbestos control and abatement at workplaces. A holistic and integrated approach is needed to manage asbestos at national level.

This session is relevant and useful to regulators, industrial hygienists, EHS professionals, service providers, and persons who are involved in asbestos control and abatement.


Lim Yan Ting,
Senior Occupational Hygiene Specialist, OSH Division, Ministry of Manpower, Singapore

11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Occupational Hygiene – Professional Ethics

Technical competency has been a common focal point for the industrial and occupational hygiene professional. In today’s world it is also critical to gain an appreciation for the relevance and critical nature of ethical behavior in our professional practice. This presentation will:

      • Provide an introduction to Professional Ethics and explain its importance in the field of occupational hygiene
      • Increase awareness of situations presenting ethical dilemmas and their potential impact
      • Introduce the ABIH Code of Ethics & AIHA Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee (JIHEEC), and
      • Discuss Corporate Social Responsibility – A New Blueprint for Health and Safety.

Shamini Samuel, CIH, CSP, ROH
Manager, Industrial Hygiene & Radiation,
Suncor Energy Services, Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada



11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.





1:15p.m. – 2:00p.m.

General Session #4

Improving the Accuracy of Industrial Hygienist Professional Judgments – With and Without Monitoring Data

Gurumurthy Ramachandran, PhD, CIH, Professor and Director of Industrial Hygiene Program, Resident Fellow, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Professional judgment is already an integral component of most occupational exposure assessments. The introduction of Bayesian statistical techniques provides an opportunity to make these judgments transparent and quantitative. This, in turn, provides a potential to improve the accuracy and efficiency of exposure decision-making by using a number of heuristics (rules of thumb) that are known to professionals. Bayesian techniques can be used to formally combine our professional judgment regarding a particular exposure and its uncertainty along with the statistical analysis of current exposure data. This presentation will focus on studies assessing the accuracy of judgments made by IHs with and without data. The use of statistical methods, heuristics, and exposure models in improving judgment accuracy will be discussed. Participants will learn how these data analysis methods, heuristics and exposure models improve exposure decision accuracy and efficiency.

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Afternoon Networking, Expo & Poster Break




2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Breakout Session #4, Technical Track A


GHS/Classification of Chemicals: Lessons Learned




2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Challenges in Implementing GHS

The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) was developed by the United Nations to standardize on an international basis, the classification and communication of chemical hazards as a foundation for sound chemical management. At the 2002 World Summit of Sustainable Development, countries had been encouraged to adopt GHS as soon as possible.

Over the past years, GHS provisions have been adopted into the regulatory framework of many countries. As chemicals are being produced, handles, transported and used all over the world, the chemical industry has to face requirements of providing the appropriate GHS labels and safety data sheets to customers and other stakeholders. Chemical companies have to establish a system – which includes, having regulatory knowledge, change management and training in order to comply. Experience in the challenges of implementing GHS in the BASF worldwide organization will also be discussed.


Xinhui Khaw,
Manager, Asia Pacific Chemical/Regulations, Competence Center, Environmental Health & Safety, BASF SE Asia






3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
GHS Implementation: Issues and Challenges in Australia
Implementation of the Globally Harmonised System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) in Australia coincides with significant reforms in the regulation of workplace health & safety (WHS) as well as of the plastics and chemical industry. This presentation will look at key issues arising in the national transition to GHS by 1 January 2017. It will also share, from a regulator’s perspective, some of the challenges and opportunities the process offers to improve hazard communication and working safely with chemicals.


Mahinda Seneviratne, COH,
State Inspector- Hygiene & Toxicology, Specialist Services Group, WorkCover, New South Wales, Australia







2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Breakout Session #4, Management-Technical Track B





Accredited Laboratories and Their Critical Role in HSE Decision Making
The importance of reliable laboratory testing data for HSE decision making cannot be overstated. But how does an HSE professional select a testing laboratory and have confidence in the test results? The speaker will explain how selecting an accredited testing laboratory that has demonstrated its compliance with ISO standards is the best approach to fulfilling testing, calibration and measurement needs. Accreditation involves an independent third party evaluation of a laboratory against international standards to carry out specific activities to ensure the laboratory’s competence. During the accreditation process, the technical competence of a laboratory is examined including: the qualifications, training and experience of the staff; the maintenance of its equipment; quality assurance procedures; sampling practices; testing procedures; test methods; traceability of measurements; recording and reporting procedures and overall facilities. Laboratory accreditation is a way for governments, regulators, industry and consumers anywhere in the world to have confidence in test results. Accreditation bodies like AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs that have themselves been evaluated under an ISO standard and deemed competent, sign mutual recognition arrangements under International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) that enhance the acceptance of test results globally. The speaker will finally explain how this international system of laboratory accreditation is consistent with ISO management systems that many companies also have in place.


Peter J. O'Neil, CAE,
Executive Director, AIHA, Falls Church, VA, USA


3:40 pm – 4:35 p.m.

Closing General Session #5

Challenges and Successes in Delivering Industrial Hygiene Services in Malaysia​

Speaker:  Ir. Haji Rosli Hussin​, Executive Director, National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), Ministry of Human Resources, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

Industrial hygiene is not only a science, but it is also an art that involves judgment, creativity and human interaction. Industrial hygienists play an important role in ensuring that the workplace is as free from hazards as possible and that workers and the community at large are protected from potential health threats. It is broadly concerned with the chemical, biological and physical stress that may impair the health and wellbeing of the workers. 


The practice of Industrial Hygiene has grown significantly around the world. However, there are some challenges in delivering Occupational Hygiene services for several reasons. Low concern about heath issues in the industries may be due to a poor understanding of health risk and many SMEs main concern is survival. Besides that, there are also a limited number of competent persons with comprehensive practice due to limited local universities producing graduates in Industrial Hygiene and the country relies on legislatively driven competent persons. Additionally, the safety equipment and purchasing consumables are very important making Industrial Hygiene services more expensive. The important role of the Industrial Hygiene profession is not well recognized. NIOSH Malaysia, with limited capacity is working continually with local universities to assist in developing Industrial Hygiene curriculum. There is a need to provide health awareness among OSH practitioners. There is also a challenge to continue developing Industrial Hygiene competent individuals, to meet specific needs of legislators, with the hope that they will, in turn, gain more comprehensive practice at a later stage. 


Industrial hygiene services has a huge impact on every aspect of an organization and benefits business bottom line through increased in productivity, improved morale, and lower workers’ compensation and liability costs. However, there is a need for the transferability of competency standards at all levels of industrial hygiene practice.