Workplace economics and other dynamics are bringing together the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
That was the theme of a joint meeting of the two groups' boards of directors Sept. 25 in New Orleans. The one-day summit was held to explore a vision for collaboration of programs.
AIHA President Jim Thornton and ASSE President Frank Perry expressed excitement about the spirit of cooperation shown during the meeting. The boards agreed to explore specific collaboration in several areas:
- A joint leadership conference, including an annual summit meeting of the two boards;
- Liaisons to each other's boards;
- Discounted joint membership fees and prices;
- Government affairs cooperative efforts; and
- Support for the two foundations working together.
Perry and Thornton indicated that the next steps in this process will be 1) to establish a mechanism to continue exploration of opportunities to increase value and conserve resources and 2) to have staffs work together to flesh out ideas and provide a report to both boards by December 1999.
The idea behind the joint meeting was birthed when the two groups' executive committees met in 1998 in San Antonio to open dialogue. Both groups were "cautiously optimistic" that they could partner in some areas, Perry said. Last year's meeting led to the summit.
Previous involvement between AIHA (13,000 members) and ASSE (33,000 members) was limited to regional events. "At the grassroots level, there appears to be a lot of good involvement," Perry said prior to the summit. "We need to bring this up to the national level."
In the past, there has been reluctance by some members from each organization to have the two groups work together, Perry said.