The American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) and the ACGIH® announced in a recent press statement that they will end dialogue regarding the proposed strategic alliance announced in May 2009. The alliance discussions were temporarily suspended in early 2010 when it became clear to ACGIH® that major changes to its structure were needed in order to sustain the organization. These include a new corporate structure and broadening its relationship with stakeholders, including professional occupational health and safety associations in addition to AIHA and individual donors. A renewal of discussions may occur following the approval of a new ACGIH® business model by its Board and membership.
AIHA and ACGIH® entered into the initial discussions of a potential alliance in the spring of 2009. This reflected AIHA’s strategic priority to develop Occupational Exposure Guidelines with increased collaboration with ACGIH®; and ACGIH®’s recognition that changes were needed to fund the development and maintenance of TLVs®. These discussions resulted in Guiding Principles announced at AIHce 2009. A joint AIHA/ACGIH® task force has worked over the past year to develop specific operating agreements that would define the terms of an efficient and effective AIHA/ACGIH® strategic alliance.
In order to maintain its viability as an organization and continue to develop TLVs® in an open and unbiased manner, ACGIH® is considering a significant transformation of its governance approach. Because potential approaches affect the outcome of any negotiations with AIHA, the associations have agreed to end the current direct Alliance discussions. “We respect the ACGIH® leadership team’s effort to develop a new organizational structure that will create an enduring and sustainable process for TLV® development,” says Michael Brandt, AIHA President.
“Occupational Exposure Guidelines are important tools for our profession, and our members need the capacity to develop and maintain more of them,” says Brandt. “The parallel efforts of AIHA and ACGIH® will ensure we retain this capacity into the future. While we are disappointed that we have been unable to put the Alliance in place, AIHA will re-focus its efforts on the recently formed AIHA Guideline Foundation, which supports the development of WEELs, ERPGs and other important tools for our members.”
Stephen Reynolds, ACGIH® Chair stated “The Alliance talks helped us understand the extent to which we needed transformational changes in ACGIH®. While we feel that it is not the appropriate time to negotiate with AIHA, we earnestly look forward to continuing our dialogue with a view towards greater cooperation so as to better serve the profession.”