Worker Health and Safety Groups Hold Meeting

Various worker health and safety group representatives met on Wednesday to discuss the two most current issues in the field -- ergonomics and telecommuting.

On Wednesday, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) hosted a joint meeting between allied organizations in an effort to build stronger working relationships.

Individuals from the National Safety Council, National Society of Professional Engineers, the Environmental Information Association, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), American Society of Safety Engineers, American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, American Occupational Therapy Association, System Safety Society, National Safety Management Society, Environmental Information Association, and ISEA -- The Safety Equipment Association, participated in an initiative to ensure that workplace health and safety remains a priority in both the public and private sector.

Six other associations indicated their desires to attend, but because of scheduling conflicts could not.

Collectively, more than 200,000 members were represented at Wednesday's meeting.

"As stakeholders in many of the outcomes from Congress and the regulatory agencies, it is vital to find out where we agree and disagree on issues facing the occupational and environmental health and safety profession," said AIHA Executive Director O. Gordon Banks. "The group agreed that this could be an excellent forum to provide OSHA with an unbiased, nonpolitical perspective on the educational need for worker health and safety."

The groups discussed the two most current and controversial issues in the worker health and safety field -- ergonomics and telecommuting.

Participants expressed concern about the ergonomics proposal including the comment period, the medical pay out provision and the trigger provision.

Likewise, all groups agreed that the telecommuting issue needs to be fully evaluated by all affected parties including OSHA, employers, employees and policymakers.

Greg Barranco, director of government relations for ACOEM who participated in the meeting, said it was very helpful for all of the organizations involved.

"There has never really been a strong coalition for these groups. This is the closest I have seen," said Barranco. "It was good to be able to hear what issues the other groups were concerned about."

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