In a wide-ranging address on June 19 to attendees at the American Industrial Hygiene Association's AIHce 2012 event in Indianapolis, NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard outlined several challenges facing occupational health and safety in the 21st century. He also called for OEHS professionals to be more active in voicing the concerns of workers.
Howard discussed challenges affecting workers including demographic, political, economic and social trends. Given the complexity of these challenges, it is not enough, Howard said, for OEHS professionals to confine themselves to solely occupational issues. "We should broaden our traditional mission of preventing work-related disease and injury with efforts to promote total worker health - regardless of whether disease or injury is work-related," Howard said.
trends, such as the increase in the number of workers whose employment
is insecure and precarious, requires leadership from OEHS professionals
and a willingness to be vocal advocates on behalf of workers: "The voice
of the occupational health and safety practitioner will have to become
louder and bolder and more courageous," Howard said.