On Aug. 27, 2015, representatives from the American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) attended the 4th Annual United States - China Workplace Safety and Health Dialogue meeting in Seattle, Wash. AIHA Executive Director Peter J. O'Neil, FASAE, CAE, and President Daniel H. Anna, PhD, CIH, CSP, represented AIHA-the only U.S.-based association invited to participate-and engaged in dialogue about important industry areas, including the roles of professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations in promoting worker safety and health.

During the meeting, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health (MSHA) Joseph Main led a discussion regarding recent technological advancements that have contributed to improved safety and health in mines, including proximity detection systems, a type of sensor technology. Proximity detection systems use electronic sensors on both mining machines and miners to detect motion or the location of one object relative to another, and can be programmed to send warning signals and stop mining machines before they injure or kill workers in underground coal mines. Sensor technology is one of AIHA's main focus areas, and the association recently conducted research to map the current sensor technology landscape, reaching beyond the technology's current usage in industrial/occupational hygiene practice into emerging areas and other applications. 

AIHA's representatives were joined by Chief Engineer Wu Xin and Deputy Director-General Bai Ran from the State Administration for Work Safety (SAWS), Beijing, and Regional Administrator Ken Atha of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). On Sept. 15-16, AIHA is jointly hosting the 2015 China - U.S. Occupational Health Symposia with China's National Center for International Cooperation in Work Safety (NCICS), an affiliated organization of SAWS. AIHA also has a long-standing alliance with OSHA to promote national dialogue and encourage training, education, outreach, and communication on workplace safety and health.

"AIHA has long valued its domestic and international partnerships, and we appreciate inclusion in this important meeting," O'Neil said. "It gave us the opportunity to continue a decade-long dialogue with U.S. and Chinese counterparts."

The group also discussed developments in oil and gas extraction; enforcement structures from state to federal government, and from central government to provinces; and directions of future cooperation.

"I look forward to...enhancing the cooperation between the U.S. and China on ways to protect the safety and health of workers," Atha said.