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June 10, 2019
AIHA unveils new safety certifications

Occupational safety and health professionals can now pursue two new certificate programs offered by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the group announced. The AIHA will now certify qualified professionals in assessing workplace chemical exposures and using instruments to detect gases and vapors.

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The AIHA’s new certificate programs are:

  • “Occupational Exposure Assessment” for those applying the fundamentals of industrial hygiene to gather, document, and report monitoring data and make exposure assessments under the supervision of an experienced industrial hygienist; and
  • “Field Use of Direct Reading Instruments for the Detection of Gases and Vapors—Operations Level” for operations-level users of direct-reading instruments, including construction workers, emergency responders, maintenance technicians, utility workers, and water service workers.

Online training, testing

The AIHA now offers the two certificate programs in specialized industrial hygiene/occupational health topics in addition to its existing online educational offerings like the Certified Industrial Hygienist “crash course” and other online courses, as well as live and recorded webinars. Participants in the certificate programs must complete an online course and pass an online test.

“We believe the flexibility of the online format will appeal to busy professionals, who can receive the same practical training while maintaining their work commitments,” Alla Orlova, the AIHA’s managing director of education and technical initiatives, said in a statement.

Aligned with BoKs

The certificate programs are aligned with the technical frameworks outlined in corresponding AIHA “Bodies of Knowledge” (BoKs). In addition to the BoKs for occupational exposure assessment and gas monitoring and detection, there is an IAQ/IEQ Practitioner Body of Knowledge, a reference for indoor air quality and indoor environmental quality professionals. Other topics covered by the AIHA’s BoKs include:

  • Auditing occupational health and safety management systems,
  • Business value presentation,
  • Emergency preparedness and response for industrial hygienists, and
  • Safety data sheet and label authoring.

Topics covered in certificate programs

Modules in the training for the “Occupational Exposure Assessment Certificate Program” include:

  • Establishing an exposure assessment strategy;
  • Gathering data for basic characterization;  
  • Evaluating exposures;
  • Using hazard controls to manage unacceptable exposures;
  • Dealing with uncertain exposures;
  • Confirming acceptable exposures; and 
  • Communicating with stakeholders.

The occupational exposure assessment BoK utilizes an Anticipate, Recognize, Evaluate, Control, and Confirm (ARECC) framework. The AIHA has also developed an occupational exposure banding BoK, which compliments forthcoming guidance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding Process: Guidance for the Evaluation of Chemical Hazards.

The modules of the “Field Use of Direct Reading Instruments for the Detection of Gases and Vapors—Operations Level” program training include:

  • Instrument calibration, operation, and use;
  • Chemical properties and exposure limits;
  • Instrument technology and operational theory;
  • Instrument selection, maintenance, and troubleshooting;
  • Data interpretation and data logging; and
  • Sampling strategies in incident response.

The Field Use of Direct-Reading Instruments for Detection of Gases and Vapors Body of Knowledge was developed with input from representatives from the International Association of Fire Fighters, Marine Chemist Association, NIOSH, and industrial hygiene and environmental professions, as wells as instrument manufacturers.

The AIHA is an organization of nearly 8,500 safety professionals, approximately half of whom are certified industrial hygienists.

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