So many issues come to mind when I am asked which initiative demands the most attention in 2014. Is it helping IH and EHS professionals better communicate their “bottom line” value to their employers and/or companies? Is it the lack of strong, cohesive, globally-aligned occupational exposure limits for IH and EHS practitioners? Is it helping practitioners to collect, analyze and interpret the so-called “big data?” Of all these priorities, one particular issue stands out to me – the need for a universal EHS standard of care for evaluating and protecting worker health and safety.

Industrial hygiene issues are becoming increasingly globalized. Companies are assuming IH responsibilities from one end of their supply chains to the other. Threats are reaching across borders, both embodied and trade, and in forms such as climate change and pandemics. This knowledge capability creates more opportunities for OEHS practitioners in other countries.

The solution? AIHA is working to research and analyze existing standards to create a common framework for global acceptance of a universal standard of care. This would be achieved through an IH/EHS scientific summit that would bring together stakeholders from global, like-minded, science-based organizations to draft and ratify a global EHS standard of care. This universal standard of care will change how IHs approach international markets across all platforms. As a result, public and occupational health will be better for stakeholders, workers and neighbors.


Peter O’Neill, Executive Director, American Industrial Hygiene Association