AIHA, ACGIH End Alliance Discussions

In June 2009, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) revealed plans to form a new strategic alliance and work together more closely. On Oct. 25, however, the organizations announced they will end dialogue regarded this proposed alliance.

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.

“The alliance talks helped us understand the extent to which we needed transformational changes in ACGIH,” said Stephen Reynolds, ACGIH chair. “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.”

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. 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,” said 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,” added 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 refocus its efforts on the recently formed AIHA Guideline Foundation, which supports the development of WEELs, ERPGs and other important tools for our members.”

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