GR Central Update- April 2018

Dear Readers: As part of our efforts to continually improve the services we deliver to you, we are now providing this newsletter as a succinct Letter from the Editor with a link at the bottom to AIHA’s Government Relations Action Center. There you’ll find a rich array of short videos, summary information on bills and regulations, links to the full text of these measures, action alerts that directly connect you with your State and Federal policymakers, issue summaries, and much more. We hope you enjoy the improvements and always welcome your feedback! You can connect with me at mames@aiha.org or 703-846-0730.

As of this writing, it's spring break. This makes many of us think about teen workplace safety, and how we can work with government officials to encourage teachers and students to focus on these critical issues. Engaging the education community is a bit different from what we've done in the past; there aren't always well-trodden paths to follow. While similarities exist, each issue area has unique differences that affect how change occurs. For instance, in education policy, many important decisions occur not at the federal or state level, but at the local level through school boards. Since school boards are responsible for making curricular changes, that's where we're focusing a lot of our efforts. Specifically, we're seeking to have the Youth@Work-Talking Safety curriculum incorporated as a requirement for appropriate classes in grades seven through 12.

We're fortunate to have several Local Sections around the country taking the lead on teen workplace safety. For instance, significant progress is being made in Colorado and Massachusetts, as well as in California, where the California Industrial Hygiene Council — which represents many of our members in the Golden State — continues its public-private collaborations.

AIHA's Teen Workplace Safety Task Force, which is helping organize AIHA members and facilitate strategic discussions, will also hold its inaugural in-person meeting at AIHce EXP 2018 in May. We invite you to attend this meeting. Please also share information on any teen workplace safety activities that you or your local section are currently involved in or plan to engage in through our online community, Catalyst.

Turning to other matters, don't forget federal programs received new funding in the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 (H.R.1625). This news is good, but that doesn't mean we can rest. The new fiscal year begins about six months from now, and discussions in Congress have already begun. We'll need to work hard to protect and expand on the success we have achieved. Please take a moment to contact your members of Congress to discuss the importance of funding for OSHA, NIOSH, MSHA and other programs here. While you're taking action, be sure to check out the more than 80 bills and regulations that AIHA has identified as the most important, and on which we encourage our members to take action. The list of bills and regulations can be found under "State & Federal Legislation, Regulations" in the Action Center. 

Thanks as always for your volunteerism and dedication to protecting worker health and safety!

~Mark Ames, Director of Government Relations