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ASSE Opposes Maryland Bill Regulating Industrial Hygienists

Posted in on Fri, Feb 25, 2011

For Immediate Release                                         Contact:  Diane Hurns, dhurns@asse.org, 847-768-3413
                                                                                                                  

 ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 23, 2011) — Maryland members of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) oppose new Maryland bill SB 268 which would regulate the use of the terms “qualified industrial hygienist” and “industrial hygiene technologist”.   ASSE said the bill would outlaw some existing professional designations; that the definitions are vague; and, that it could cause employer confusion.

 In a letter sent this week to Senator Barry Glassman, ASSE Region Vice President Vincent R. Miller Jr., CSP, said ASSE opposes SB 268 because it would introduce into Maryland law two occupational safety and health designations that are not generally recognized by industry.  

 “As a result, your bill would effectively outlaw in Maryland the use of the Certified Industrial Hygienist, Industrial Hygienist and Industrial Hygiene Technician designations, which are widely known and accepted in every other state and even globally,” Miller wrote.  “It would exacerbate the confusion many employers already face in determining quality, recognized professional designations in the occupational safety and health field.  When an estimated 350 designations already exist in occupational safety and health, many of which have not been accredited or meet any standard of excellence, two more designations are not needed.”  

Miller went on to say that the definition for industrial hygiene contained in SB 268 is vague and would unfairly and without any basis keep many ASSE Maryland members from performing professional tasks that they already commonly do without risk to employers or the people of Maryland.  He said “anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling chemical, physical, biological, and bio-mechanical hazards in a work environment,” is something that nearly all of our members already do on a daily basis with a variety of designations, different educational and training backgrounds and experience.  ASSE opposes any recognition in Maryland law of this definition for industrial hygiene.  

The 100-year-old ASSE represents more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professional members worldwide with hundreds working and living in Maryland who belong to three ASSE chapters – Chesapeake, Delmarva and the National Capital Chapter which represents the greater D.C. area. ASSE members are Certified Safety Professionals (CSP), Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH), Certified Hazard Material Managers (CHMM), engineers, occupational health nurses, ergonomists, environmental professionals and more all  committed to protecting people, property and the environment.  

Miller went on to note that the bill would inappropriately recognize in Maryland law a private organization.  He said Maryland or any other governmental body should not be in the business of recognizing a professional membership organization especially one that serves no purpose in protecting or helping the people and businesses of Maryland.   

“We ask you to reconsider your support for this legislation and urge that, if you are intent on recognizing in Maryland law the practice of industrial hygiene, you reach out and work with the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) to determine how best to do so,” Miller said.   

Founded 100 years ago in New York City as a result of the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that took the lives of 146 women and men, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest safety society and is committed to protecting people property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information visit www.asse.org, http://region6.asse.org/ and go to www.asse.org/ASSECenturyofSafety to view the centennial film. 

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