Our President-Elect has returned from the BOHS conference “OH2016” held in Glasgow and AIHce 2016 held in Baltimore.

BOHS – OH2016
OH2016 was much smaller than joint BOHS/10th IOHA Conference in London but still a very interesting conference with the usual high standard of presentations. The weather was ‘Scottish’ but easily eclipsed by the warm, friendly, and generous hospitality of Glaswegians. If you are interested in the technical presentations, look at PPT slides online at the OH2016 web site http://www.oh-2016.com/

The opening plenary session was the 2016 Warner Lecture delivered by Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor and titled ‘Continuing Challenge of Occupational Lung Disease’. Whilst this paper was not focussed on coal miners’ pneumoconiosis, the message was eerily familiar; constant vigilance is required to prevent dust diseases whether it be in Australian or UK mines, construction sites, foundries, or quarries.

At the President’s Session, the BOHS had a very interesting viewpoint that there is a market driven ‘mega trend’ in occupational health and safety in the UK. This trend is about small special interest groups that form around narrow technical topics, then grow in size and finally formalise their structure to become competitors.

This is a familiar phenomenon in Australia with a range of professional bodies forming over the years, whose members work in and around the margins of occupational hygiene e.g. noise & vibration, radiation, biological safety, ventilation etc. The BOHS has responded in a radical way to this development and are proposing to introduce additional faculties under the BOHS umbrella. Each new faculty will provide a professional home, accreditation, and professional development opportunities for specialists. The first cab of the rank is the ‘Faculty of Asbestos Assessment and Management’ (FAAM). Of course, this makes you think about what’s happening at home and how AIOH handles applications from specialists for membership. Perhaps it’s time to rethink our approach to membership and look to find ways to embrace change without eroding professional standards?


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