Chicago Plays Host to Occupational Health Professionals

The American Occupational Health Conference is the place to be this week to learn about the workplace after Sept. 11, privacy issues and regulations affecting employers and employees.

Chicago''s McCormick Place Convention Center is the place to be this week if you are one of the thousands of occupational health professionals in the United States and Canada.

The theme of this year''s American Occupational Health Conference (AOHC) is "Workforce of the 21st Century." AOHC is the annual joint meeting of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc. (AAOHN) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

This year, more than 200 experts will present research and discuss the most critical issues affecting the workplace, including staying on top of ever-changing legislation to coping with today''s dynamic business environment.

Full- and half-day professional seminars sponsored by ACOEM and AAOHN were held earlier in the week, and the general conference began today with a joint plenary session featuring John Henshaw, administrator of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Other highlights of the conference:

  • The workplace after Sept. 11: The most devastating terrorist attacks on U.S. soil directly impacted thousands of workers in New York and Washington, yet nearly every American worker may have experienced some stress related to this tragedy. This year''s AOHC program includes 11 courses on critical workplace incidents, such as terrorism. Topics range from handling multiple casualty incidents or workplace triage to perfecting risk communications and helping employees cope with the stress of a traumatic event.
  • Privacy, please: New federal health information privacy regulations resulting from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act will have a far-reaching effect on businesses and health care facilities. Experts will present the latest on the legal and ethical implications of these new regulations.
  • It''s the law: Conference content focuses on a number of additional regulations and legislation impacting the workplace in the coming months, such as new recordkeeping regulations from OSHA, new recommendations from OSHA on automated external defibrillators and new guidelines from the Department of Transportation on required driver fitness.

In addition, there are several courses that speak specifically to occupational hazards, including "Potential Chemical Exposures to Laborers" and "Exposure to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV: What You Need to Know."

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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