Strengthen disaster response, urge hygienists
The bill specifically references occupational health and safety professionals regarding their key role in protecting, assessing, monitoring and studying the health and safety of first responders.
AIHA says any legislated program seeking cooperation with institutions "experienced in the area of environmental or occupational health and safety," as stated in the bill, should include nationally recognized occupational health and safety not-for-profit associations. "These organizations have the available resources and abilities to mobilize the talented pool of members they represent as well as to serve as an appropriate means for coordinating and disseminating information," states AIHA.
In 2003, AIHA members ranked Emergency Preparedness and Response as the number one public policy issue of importance to the association. AIHA is also currently collaborating with the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the Office of Emergency Preparedness to establish an Occupational and Environmental Health Specialty Disaster Medical Response Team. This team will ensure that there is an occupational and environmental health capability among the many Disaster Medical Assistance Teams formed to support the National Disaster Medical System.