New Safety Code of Ethics

May 31, 2007

After careful consideration, much deliberation, and solid legal advice, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) decided to develop a new, enforceable Code of Ethics for all ABIH-certified professionals, applicants, and examinees. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), AIHA’s Academy of Industrial Hygiene (AIH), and ACGIH® have created a set of principles that will complement the enforceable Code of Ethics for AIHA, AIH, and ACGIH, which they will share.

These principles were available for member input and were recently approved by both the AIHA and ACGIH Boards of Directors.

The four societies have jointly shared a Code of Ethics since the mid-1980s. In 1995, the four societies worked together to update the Code of Ethics. In 1996, the Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee (JIHEEC) was formed with representatives from each of the societies. The mission of JIHEEC is one of education, not enforcement. JIHEEC has served the profession by bringing attention to ethical dilemmas facing industrial hygiene (IH), while also serving as a sounding board for ethical challenges facing the profession.

During the past few years, the organizations have struggled, individually and collectively, with the best way to enforce the Code of Ethics. The four organizations have formed internal and joint task forces to address these myriad challenges within and between the societies. In the past few years, AIHA, AIH, and ACGIH have moved from enforcement to education, and ABIH has strived to enhance the mechanisms by which it enforces the Code of Ethics for certified professionals.

AIHA, AIH, and ACGIH are nonprofit voluntary professional membership associations dedicated to the advancement of the field of industrial hygiene. The IH professional associations support quality professional standards and practices and expect members to meet such standards. In support of these important purposes, the IH professional associations promote ethical professional practices and strongly encourage members to understand ethical responsibilities. As a matter of professional competence and public confidence, members are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the applicable ethics standards, including those of ABIH. The IH professional associations have adopted the Member Ethical Principles to guide the members, support the profession, and advance health and safety.


OSHA Settles Challenge to Hexavalent Chromium Standard

OSHA signed an agreement with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA), Public Citizen Health Research Group (HRG) and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (Steelworkers). This agreement settles NAM and SSINA’s challenge to OSHA’s hexavalent chromium standard (NAM et al. v. OSHA, 3d Cir Docket Nos. 06-2272 and consolidated cases).

As a result of the settlement, OSHA will issue a letter of interpretation addressing specific questions NAM and SSINA presented to OSHA regarding the agency’s new hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) standard for general industry. The letter will be issued by OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs.

On or before May 24, 2007, NAM and SSINA was to file a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to withdraw their petition for review of the Cr(VI) standard. OSHA, HRG, and the Steelworkers have agreed not to oppose any motion NAM and/or SSINA may file to intervene in support of the Cr(VI) standard in the remaining cases.

Waste Services Firm Faces nearly $80,000 in Fines from OSHA

OSHA cited Interstate Waste Services of Sloatsburg, N.Y., for a total of 41 alleged serious violations of safety and health standards at three of its Rockland County, N.Y., facilities. The waste collection and recycling company faces a total of $79,450 in proposed fines.

The citations and fines stem from six OSHA inspections begun in February of this year at facilities located at 200 Sterling Mine Road, Sloatsburg; 25 Airmont Road, Airmont; and 560 Chestnut Ridge Road, Chestnut Ridge. The inspections were conducted under an OSHA program which targets workplaces in industries with high instances of lost workdays, restricted duty, or job transfers due to occupational injuries or illnesses.

“Our inspections identified a cross-section of safety and health hazards at these three locations that expose employees to the hazards of lacerations, amputation, electrocution, burns, and injuries from being struck or crushed,” said Diana Cortez, director of OSHA’s Tarrytown Area Office. “This employer must take steps to effectively address the hazards at all three locations to ensure that they are corrected and do not recur.”

The bulk of the hazards were identified at the Sloatsburg facility, accounting for 34 of the serious citations and $66,400 of the total proposed fines. Cited conditions included a blocked fire exit and a too-narrow exit route; unlit fire exit signs; blocked fire extinguisher access; no exposure control program or training for employees exposed to contaminated needles and sharp objects; no hazard communication program and training; no program, training, and equipment to lock out machines’ power sources before performing maintenance; an uninspected overhead crane; untrained forklift operators; an inoperable eyewash station; numerous instances of unguarded machinery and electrical hazards; and hazards involving welding, tire changing equipment, and a defective ladder.

Hazards at the Chestnut Ridge transfer station included a blocked fire extinguisher, water leaking onto and standing near an electrical transformer, an improperly wired electrical circuit and exposed live wiring. These resulted in the issuance of four serious citations with $8,100 in proposed fines.

At the Airmont recycling facility, hazards included unlabeled circuit breakers, failure to remove a defective forklift from service, and excess air pressure for a compressed air hose used for cleaning. Three serious citations, carrying $4,950 in proposed fines, were issued for these conditions.

Fatal Fall Leads to $49,000 in OSHA Fines for Contractor

OSHA cited David Burke Construction LLC of Hamburg, N.Y., for alleged repeat and serious violations of fall protection safety standards after an employee fell 30 feet to his death at a Buffalo worksite on March 20.

The accident occurred at the Webb Building, 90 Pearl St., which is undergoing renovation. The employees were working on the second floor, at the edge of deteriorated and missing floor sections that opened to the building’s basement, when an employee fell through the missing floor section.

OSHA’s inspection found no guardrails or safety nets were present, and the employees did not have a personal fall arrest system, such as a safety harness, that would have stopped a fall. Additional fall hazards stemmed from ladder holes that lacked guardrails or offsets to prevent employees from inadvertently walking or falling into the holes.

“This case is the most extreme and unfortunate example of what can and does happen when fall protection is not used,” said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo. “The need for fall protection is clear and required and there’s absolutely no good reason for its absence in this type of work situation. The use of required safeguards would have prevented this death.”

OSHA found that employees had neither been trained to identify fall hazards nor in proper fall protection procedures. The worksite also had not been inspected by someone with the knowledge and authority to identify and correct fall hazards. As a result, OSHA issued two repeat citations, carrying $28,000 in proposed fines, for the fall hazards and three serious citations, with $21,000 in proposed fines, for the lack of training and inspections.

Fall protection is required in most cases when employees work six feet or more above the next work level.

AIHA Will Introduce New Digital Library at Annual Conference

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) will unveil OEHS Library Central, a comprehensive, new digital library of knowledge, information, resources, and research for occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) professionals at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHce 2007) in Philadelphia, Pa., June 2–7.

OEHS Library Central will offer downloadable versions of all AIHA print publications to site subscribers and will link to abstracting and indexing databases for more than 150 science and technical journals, such as Medical Physics. More than four years in the making, a task force of AIHA members analyzed input from four focus groups to prioritize desired features and ultimately selected AIP Publishing Services as the vendor to build, host, and service OEHS Library Central.

AIHA members will continue to receive The Synergist by mail and will have access to it on the AIHA Web site. Similarly, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) will be available at OEHS Library Central, as well as on the current site, and will continue to be offered in print. AIHA members will pay no additional charge to download these publications.

For other publications, AIHA members will be able to view abstract information and the table of contents without a subscription. To view or download them, a subscription is necessary. AIHA will continue to offer print copies of its publications at the Marketplace on the AIHA Web site.

Non-AIHA member users of OEHS Library Central may view abstract information and the table of contents of publications without a subscription. To view or download the chapter or article, a subscription is needed.

Subscriptions will be sold on a per-download basis, with a download defined as a chapter or article. A variety of subscription options will be available, including single and multiple downloads for members, nonmembers, and students. Specific pricing information will be available at AIHce.

In addition to the comprehensive OEHS information, subscribers will enjoy robust Google search features by author, title, and topic. What’s more, subscribers will have the option to set up a user profile to receive content alerts by e-mail and to allow them to manage a personal user library. Other subscriber features include the ability to save favorites and send links to others.

AIHA will offer a demonstration and more information about OEHS Library Central at the AIHA Information Central (booth number 635) in the center of the expo hall at AIHce 2007. 


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