OSHA's recently announced alliance with the American Industrial Hygiene Association raised the issue of favoritism on an Internet list-serv posting:

"I was just curious if anybody else heard about AIHA signing an alliance agreement with OSHA regarding ergonomics and their working together," posted Ron Blastowicz, a member of another SH&E group. "The agreement itself did not mean a whole bunch to me, but I did notice in the agreement itself that OSHA recognized AIHA as "the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals." I am curious how the other S&H groups will react to OSHA agreeing that AIHA is now the top dog in safety and health."

OSHA officials quickly jumped in to try to set the record straight. OSHA chief John Henshaw responded directly to the individual with this posting:

"The press release issued by OSHA. . . does not state that AIHA is 'the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals.' You may be referring to the AIHA press release which, as you might expect, states the above. Let's make sure we don't start something that makes things worse in respect to working together.

"For your information, we are working on an alliance with ASSE and other safety and health professional organizations and would be honored to have them working with us in the same way."

Bonnie Friedman, director, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, responded:

"OSHA is proud of its alliance with AIHA as well as similar alliances with a growing number of organizations that want to work with us to improve and promote safety and health in the workplace. OSHA also respects the right of any organization to describe itself as it best sees fit."