The American Industrial Hygiene Association is preparing to launch another effort to see if it can find a new process to "update the PELs," according to a blog post by AIHA Government Affairs Director Aaron Trippler.

“Such an effort will only work if we have the ‘buy-in’ of OSHA and the Obama administration. This remains to be seen,” says Trippler.

AIHA has received "off-the-record" support from OSHA that they may even be willing to have a non-voting representative on the working group, according to Trippler, who adds he is “a little concerned about what might happen when we have a permanent Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

“If the rumor is correct that David Michaels will probably be named the Assistant Secretary, it raises some interesting questions,” says Trippler. “Mr. Michaels has written that ‘successive OSHA administrators have simply recognized that establishing new standards is so time and labor-intensive, and will inevitably call forth such orchestrated opposition from industry, that it is not worth expending the agency's limited resources on the issue.’

In a membership survey, AIHA identified permissible exposure limits (PELs) updating as the numero uno public policy issues for 2009–2010.

Stated AIHA: “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) PELs are consensus-based limits that indicate how long an individual can be exposed to a particular substance without experiencing harmful effects. The occupational health and safety profession considers PELs to be one of the most basic tools needed to protect workers. However, many PELs have not been updated since the 1960s and 1970s. Science in this area has matured, but the PELs have not. AIHA continues to work with OSHA, Congress, and others to reach a consensus on the best way to update the PELs.”