During the present global disease pandemic, a time which is unique to the world and its global communities, our risk assessments need to continue to be comprehensive, thorough, and appropriately vetted.
As stewards to occupational health and safety professionals around the globe, ACGIH® leadership feels compelled to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of our members, supporters, and the public at large. Therefore, on March 12th, ACGIH® made the difficult decision to cancel all large in-person events through at least the summer of 2020. Moreover, our decision to cancel in-person events also includes our involvement in large gatherings hosted by other organizations.
ACGIH® has been a contractual sponsor and exhibitor at the AIHce conference for many years. However, given current and reliably forecasted health and safety circumstances, ACGIH® has made the decision to not attend the 2020 AIHce in the near term at any level for in-person activities. We sincerely value our relationship with AIHA and have offered partnership collaboration in future endeavors – including support of an entirely virtual conference this year or other educational opportunities reinforced by social and physical distancing measures.
As we all learn to navigate our changing roles in the environmental health and safety community during this time, ACGIH® is here to support you in your professional endeavors. With the decision to cancel our in-person meetings, we have also begun development on new and exciting distance learning opportunities. ACGIH® is focused on enacting responsive, immediate actions that will serve environmental health and safety professionals looking to Define Your Future.
The HVAC systems in most non-medical buildings play only a small role in infectious disease transmission, including COVID-19. Knowledge is emerging about COVID-19, the virus that causes it (SARS-CoV-2), and how the disease spreads. Reasonable, but not certain, inferences about spread can be drawn from the SARS outbreak in 2003 (a virus genetically similar to SARS-CoV-2) and, to a lesser extent, from transmission of other viruses. Preliminary research has been recently released, due to the urgent need for information, but it is likely to take years to reach scientific consensus.
Even in the face of incomplete knowledge, it is critically important for all of us, especially those of us in positions of authority and influence, to exercise our collective responsibility to communicate and reinforce how personal choices about social distancing and hygiene affect the spread of this disease and its impact not just on ourselves, but on our societal systems and economy. The consequences of overwhelming the capacity of our health-care systems are enormous and potentially tragic. The sooner we “flatten the curve,” the sooner we can return to safer and normal economic and personal lives.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), “The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes….” Talking and breathing can also release droplets and particles. Droplets generally fall to the ground or other surfaces in about 1 m (3 ft), while particles (aka aerosols), behave more like a gas and can travel through the air for longer distances, where they can transmit to people and also settle on surfaces. The virus can be picked up by hands that touch contaminated surfaces (called fomite transmission) or be re-entrained into the air when disturbed on surfaces…
>> Read more here: https://www.ashrae.org/news/ashraejournal/guidance-for-building-operations-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
AIHA represents industrial hygienists and occupational health and safety scientists who play vital roles on the front lines of public health emergencies, such as the novel coronavirus. Some of the ways AIHA members help control the spread of highly infectious diseases include:
- Selecting appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Providing training on proper techniques for putting on and removing PPE.
- Determining whether certain types of PPE and other equipment should be discarded or if it can be reused after proper cleaning.
- Selecting and providing training on the use of decontamination chemicals and techniques.
- Managing waste that is known or is suspected to contain an infectious substance.
- Educating (or training) employers, employees, the media, policymakers, and the public to understand risks.
- Creating or revisiting plans to manage the fatigue of healthcare and other workers who may be working long hours.
To help protect workers, their families, and communities, AIHA has created a Coronavirus Outbreak Resource Center at http://bit.ly/AIHACOVID19 and maintains a robust Consultants Listing of professionals who specialize in proper PPE fit testing, exposure assessment, incidence response and preparedness and many more scientific activities that protect workers and the public. Together, these resources provide powerful tools to help combat this global pandemic. To learn more about AIHA visit https://www.aiha.org/about-aiha.
As the world reacts to the current environment being created by Coronavirus, ACGIH® is here to help navigate any changes or new challenges this presents to you and your professional career.
We’ve expanded access to several benefits to help you navigate through Coronavirus in your role as a safety and health professional:
- ACGIH®’s Infectious Disease Handbook for Emergency Care Personnel, 3rd Edition is now 50% off with the code: ACGIH50
- All Prerecorded Webinars are now also 50% off with the same code: ACGIH50
- Next month we are offering a complimentary Webinar: Updates to the 2020 ACGIH®TLVs®and BEIs® Book. If you haven’t already obtained your copy of this year’s Book, you can order it now for delivery prior to the webinar. As a reminder, all members receive this book, complimentary with their membership, so consider membership today to access this benefit.
- We’ve also developed a web page that aggregates Coronavirus intelligence that may be helpful when navigating changes to your current role. We will be supporting this web page in real time with updated, relevant information as it becomes available. You can access it here.
As we navigate this new terrain, ACGIH® is here with resources to support you professionally. If there is anything else we can do, please do not hesitate to reach out to ACGIH® headquarters at email@example.com.
As response to the coronavirus pandemic, REHVA published a guidance document, based on a collected bibliography, on how to operate and use building services in areas with coronavirus outbreak to prevent the spread of the virus. The document was developed by REHVA volunteers with the help of experts from around the world. REHVA set up a COVID-19 guidance webpage to update and complement the documents with new evidence when it becomes available.
Stay informed with AIHA. We are continuously updating the information and guidance on the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our Outbreak Resource Center.
Resources that industrial hygienists and other occupational health and safety professionals may find useful during the coronavirus outbreak follow:
- The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic provides guidance for industrial hygienists on protecting general workers, healthcare workers, and management to protect workers in a flu pandemic.
- Incident Safety and Health Management Handbook addresses planning and execution during various disasters response operations. It provides technical information on air monitoring, respiratory protection, and personal protective equipment, and offers guidelines for an effective response to an all-hazards threat environment.
30 October, 2019 – The 6 founding members (AiCARR, AIHA, AIVC, ASHRAE, ISHRAE and REHVA) are proud to announce the creation of the Indoor Environmental Quality Global Alliance (IEQ-GA) association registered in Brussels. The mission of the IEQ-GA is to promote … Continue reading