"The relationship we have with ASSE is a solid foundation on which to develop this important alliance," said John Henshaw, assistant secretary of labor, OSHA. "Safety and health professionals are the key to further reductions in workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Combining our resources through this alliance will have a tremendous impact on improved worker safety."
In the meantime, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and OSHA met recently to establish goals for implementing their recently signed alliance agreement. The plan includes short-term goals, as well as long-term milestones. The plan focuses on outreach and communication, promoting a national dialogue on workplace safety and health, and training and education.
The alliances formalizes working relationships between OSHA and AIHA and ASSE. One of the goals of the alliance with ASSE is to provide information and guidance on reducing and preventing exposure to ergonomic hazards, and for developing, implementing or improving ergonomic programs in the workplace.
The alliance calls for ASSE members with industry-specific expertise in the ergonomics field to participate in stakeholder groups and other forums. In addition, the alliance establishes a process in which ASSE members can mentor and assist OSHA personnel as they progress through professional certifications. Both OSHA and ASSE will work together in meeting outreach and communication goals by sharing information through educational opportunities that provide the best information available regarding ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders.
"Our members are on the front lines when it comes to workplace safety," said ASSE President Mark Hansen. "Their commitment to safety and their expertise combined with the excellent caliber of OSHA staff will provide an unending well of resources that corporations and organizations from all industries can tap into in an effort to reduce injuries."
AIHA President Gayla J. McCluskey, CIH, CSP, ROH, QEP, calls the alliance between her organization and OSHA "another step in our journey," adding, "AIHA and OSHA have always worked collaboratively toward furthering the cause of worker health and safety."
While both parties begin to fine-tune both short- and long-term goals, McCluskey noted that over the next six to nine months, AIHA will be reaching out to other alliance agreement signers and other related health and safety organizations to coordinate efforts, which will include seeking ways to jointly develop and disseminate information, promote and encourage worksite participation in OSHA's cooperative programs, continue to facilitate dialogue between occupational and environmental health and safety organizations (OEHS) and associations, and establish avenues and processes for safety and health professionals to mentor and assist OSHA personnel with professional certification.