American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) President John R. Mulhausen announced the group had secured commitments from the National Safety Council (NSC), the Society for Critical Care Medicine, the Indoor Air Quality Association Australia, and other public health organizations in support of the AIHA’s Commit to C.A.R.E. (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Equity) campaign to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace and surrounding communities.
Mulhausen also provided updates in a monthly letter to AIHA members on the group’s continuing collaboration with the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
The AIHA partnered with the Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium (IBEC) to develop the Commit to C.A.R.E. public health awareness initiative. Commit to C.A.R.E. was funded by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The initiative’s website offers resources that include:
- The book The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic, 2nd Edition, Version 2;
- Training videos, available in seven languages;
- Checklists, flyers, and workplace posters developed for small businesses that do not have an environment, health, and safety (EHS) professional on staff; and
- A SARS-CoV-2 Exposure Assessment Tool to assess an individual’s risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Topics covered in the Commit to C.A.R.E. videos include why masks work and how to wear them, what ventilation is and why it is important to reduce the risk of transmission, and how to develop a vaccination and testing policy.
The AIHA encouraged its members and EHS professionals to support the Commit to C.A.R.E. initiative by:
- Sharing information about Commit to C.A.R.E. with their clients, colleagues, and employers;
- Requesting that their employers send an e-mail to employees asking them to take the Commit to C.A.R.E. pledge;
- Asking their employer to include information about Commit to C.A.R.E. in the company newsletter and on social media;
- Asking business owners they know to take the Commit to C.A.R.E. pledge; and
- Downloading checklists, videos, and other materials from the site to share with family and friends in an e-mail or on social media.
As part of the AIHA’s Defining the Science Initiative to foster innovative research, training, and practical application, the group began collaborating with the ACGIH in 2021 to establish the Defining the Science Advisory Group (DTS-AG). The advisory group’s mission is to develop and maintain a national EHS research agenda endorsed by the AIHA board of directors.
The group’s tasks include identifying areas of EHS practice unsupported by current research findings so that the AIHA, the ACGIH, and other stakeholders may improve practice through outreach, promotion, and training. Other advisory group tasks include identifying research initiatives to address gaps in knowledge and answer research questions concerning at-risk workers. The advisory group also expects to determine how the AIHA might better leverage its volunteer representatives appointed to NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Councils, which guide NIOSH strategic plans.
The AIHA is also in the process of launching two new advisory groups: one to address professional Standards of Care and another to focus on Exposure Judgments. Additionally, the AIHA plans to launch a “State of the Art vs. Practice” project, which Mulhausen will address in a future letter to members.