Global Exposure Manager The newsletter of the International Occupational Hygiene Association
In this issue -- Training for everyone, everywhere (OHTA) -- South Korea wins bid to host 2020 IOHA meeting -- Investing in foreign exchange (National Association Spotlight - NVVA) -- Plus a round-up of IOHA members’ news and events and the latest from partner Chemical Risk Manager
September 2016 | Issue 2
Training for everyone, everywhere We saw an urgent need for practical occupational hygiene training that was accessible anywhere. We also saw the benefit of pooling resources to try and find common purpose and solution.
Roger Alesbury and Steve Bailey won the AIHA Yant Award earlier this year in recognition of their work for the Occupational Hygiene Training Association (OHTA). Here, they describe the history of the association, the challenges faced and the lessons learned.
With this in hand, we went into workshops and conferences to raise awareness, and after extensive negotiation over several years, we secured funding and support from a group of national occupational hygiene societies, IOHA and major corporations.
In the early 2000s, it became apparent to many of us that occupational hygiene was experiencing a recruitment crisis, particularly in the emerging economies.
A new training initiative The negotiated solution took an inclusive approach that complemented and built on established programmes for training and qualifications, while creating an overarching, consistent, international framework.
The need for hygienists was as great as ever. According to the World Health Organization, there were 160m new cases of workrelated illness and two million lives lost globally each year.
In 2009, it was formalised with the formation of the OHTA.
But without national associations, training programmes and university courses, developing countries did not have the necessary resources to produce more hygienists. Consequently, the number of qualified hygienists entering the job market each year was in long-term decline.
Different levels of training were needed to meet the differing needs of managers, non-specialist employees, technicians and professionals. Therefore, the comprehensive framework incorporated five levels, which aligned with the training needs identified in the industry discussion document. Together, the levels provided a coherent pathway for career development.
Furthermore, it was hard to imagine how the momentum for change could be developed without some kind of concerted intervention. Globally, the occupational hygiene community was small compared to those of other disciplines, meaning resources and influence were hard to come by. Indeed, occupational hygiene is not even recognised as a discipline in many countries and in those in which it is the approaches to it differ significantly.
Now, in 2016, the framework is well established. Awareness training provides introductory information for employers and employees who need to know about the hazards in their workplaces and how they are controlled to provide a safe environment.
In response, a group of senior hygienists, of which we were part, prepared a discussion document elaborating the problem and its potential solutions. IOHA Newsletter
For those aspiring to become hygiene professionals, with responsibility for designing and delivering occupational hygiene programmes in the workplace, advanced studies are needed. They would need to take an academic course, such as a master’s degree at a university, demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the specific industries and master the relevant practical skills. OHTA has focused first on developing industry-specific advanced modules to complement the technical and theoretical knowledge taught on academic programmes. Modules on the mining, oil, gas and pharmaceutical industries are