Where did all the industrial hygienists go?
Terminology changes with profession
AIHA calls its members “occupational and environmental health and safety professionals.” That about covers it all. The organization says “members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day.” Note the inclusion of safety.
Like many businesses today, AIHA has diversified and extended its “brand” to attract more customers (members) and to avoid being niched as a narrow professional interest group.
Still, many AIHA members are proud of their industrial hygiene heritage. Consequently, AIHA alternates between referring to its members as “occupational and environmental health and safety professionals” and “industrial hygienists." For instance, the AIHA “Thought Leaders Project” is said to “highlight the contributions of industrial hygienists who protect worker health around the world.” Note the absence of the word “safety” here, with the emphasis strictly on health. The second Thought Leaders video, featuring Susan Ripple, MS, CIH, is available at www.aiha.org/aboutaiha/Pages/ThoughtLeadersProject.aspx. Ripple speaks about the development and progress of occupational exposure limits and the role of industrial hygienists in risk management strategies.
Risk and risk management are the subjects of a number of educational sessions in Montreal. As with safety managers, industrial hygienists see the field of non-financial risk and assessing and managing health and safety risks as a promising future career track. With many CEOs, “risk” resonates more than “safety” or “industrial hygiene.” CEOs understand the concepts of risk and the need to protect the company from risks of all varieties.