Nanotech, hazard communication top survey of most pressing safety issues
The American Industrial Hygiene Association recently announced the results of its biennial membership survey that projects the top public policy issues of concern to the occupational and environmental health and safety profession over the next two years.
"This list of policy issues allows AIHA to focus our efforts on the priorities of our members," said Lindsay E. Booher, president of the association. "Industrial hygienists and other occupational environmental, health and safety professionals are on the front line of worker safety and public health, and these regulatory and legislative issues have a key impact on the work that they perform."
The organization said the increased use of nanotechnology in our daily lives raises occupational health and safety concerns. The AIHA supports research into the possible hazards involved with nanotechnology but urged caution in enacting new legislation and/or regulation that might be detrimental to the health and safety of workers.
With regards to improving hazard communication, the AIHA said it also supports efforts to improve the accuracy of material safety data sheets.
Other top issues highlighted in the survey included:
--Permissible exposure limits. The group said occupational health and safety professionals consider PELs to be one of the most basic tools needed to protect workers. However, the group said many PELs have not been updated since the 1960s and 1970s. The AIHA said it plans to continue working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Congress and others to reach a consensus on the best way to update the PELs.
--Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues.
The AIHA survey's top public policy concerns for OSHA included a combustible dust standard, an ergonomics standard, a crane and derricks standard, a silica standard, and indoor air quality.
"The most interesting result from this survey is probably what did not appear as a top public policy issue," said Aaron Trippler, AIHA's director of government affairs. "The issue of emergency preparedness and response was previously one of the top issues. This latest survey did not find this issue anywhere near the top. Obviously, the further we move away from 9/11 the less importance for this issue or our members believe the issue has been sufficiently addressed."
December 16, 2008
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