INSIGHT | DEPARTMENT
Volunteers Sought to Advance IH Ethics
from exposures to chemical and physical hazards that are less
common today in developed nations. But we need to ask, who
sent the ships in the first place? Who creates much of the need
for large volumes of cheap clothing? The U.S. and other “
developed countries.” Who’s responsible? The appropriate response is
that we all—developed and developing nations alike—are responsible on a global basis. This is why ethics, that moving target, is such a critical issue for workplace health and safety
professionals. As we cross borders, we must respond with a
foundation of practice that is based on an ever-evolving but
Code of Ethics
What can the industrial hygiene profession do to improve the
situation? What is in our control, as individual practitioners, to
improve the health and safety of global work conditions?
American industrial hygienists, as well as certified industrial
hygienists (CIHs) in other parts of the world, have a very well
developed professional code of ethics, via the American Board
of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH), by which we practice. This code is
the result of ongoing scrutiny and hard work on the part of
ABIH executive director, diplomates and board of directors, so
that an enforceable set of standards of industrial hygiene practice functions to protect the integrity of the profession. Whether
we approve or disapprove, the ABIH Professional Code of Ethics
has in the past, and will in the future, be used as a benchmark
by other nations, especially by those with nascent national industrial hygiene associations. Even though the U.S. is no longer
the only world power and the European Union is a major force
in shaping global health and safety, the U.S. and its policies
and codes are still used as the template or boilerplate for many
other parts of the world.
AIHA® and ABIH fully support many global initiatives. Both
organizations work closely with the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), the International Occupational Hygiene
Association (IOHA) and the Occupational Hygiene Training Association (OHTA), and have strong relationships with occupational hygiene organizations in many countries, including
Canada, India, Bulgaria, China and Taiwan. We support these
organizations by working collaboratively on global industrial
hygiene education and training, international occupational exposure standards, certification standards, and interactive committees such as the International Affairs Committee. Our
organizations’ support for the OHLearning.com global training
program allows ABIH and AIHA to interface with more than
two dozen national occupational hygiene associations. These
intermediate industrial hygiene training modules, created and
maintained by developed nations and taught by CIHs and
ROHs, will indeed positively influence the professional ethics
of future industrial hygienists. (For more information, refer to
“Meeting Global Industrial Hygiene Needs” in the May 2011
While engaged in collaborative work throughout the world,
many AIHA and ABIH volunteers are in a position not only to
affect ethical considerations of worker health and safety, but
also provide feedback regarding the cultural implications of our
code in other parts of the world. Constructive feedback will
hopefully continue to shape and guide our professional ethics.
Ethics may be a moving target, but our profession is up to the task
if we continue to listen and communicate effectively. The health
and safety of workers everywhere depends on each of us acting
diligently and ethically, and continously moving forward.
Nancy McClellan, MPH, CIH, CHMM, is a self-employed consultant and a past director and committee chair on the ABIH board of directors. She currently represents ABIH as liaison to JIHEEC and the global Occupational Hygiene Training
Association (OHTA) of the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA).
She was recently selected to serve on the OHTA board of directors. She can be
reached at (224) 357-8028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We couldn’t have done it without you!
Permanent Conference Committee
Continuing Education Committee
co-sponsored by AIHA® & ACGIH®
AIHce20 I I The Premier Conference and Exposition for OEHS Professionals
Mark your calendars for AIHce 2012
AIHce 2012 Redefining Our Future
Indianapolis, IN • June 16–21
Look for registration and hotel information in December.