The AIOH Foundation

The burden of occupational disease on current and past workers in Australia is immense. Although not well defined it is thought that deaths from occupational disease are many times higher than those of workplace fatalities (Kerr) with similar ratios applying to serious illness compared to injuries. This blight on our society is largely hidden (Grantham) due to long latency times and small numbers within individual workplaces, but it is real.

The AIOH Foundation has the singular purpose of promote the principles of occupational hygiene in the prevention and control of occupational diseases in Australian workplaces. Part of the rationale for the Foundation’s establishment by the AIOH is that the understanding of these critical principles of occupational hygiene, namely anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of environmental workplace hazards is not well understood in many industries. Their widespread application will, therefore, result in great advances in the prevention and control of workplace diseases in Australia.

We also recognise that we are a part of the wider occupational health community including occupational physicians, ergonomists, toxicologists, safety engineers, safety professionals and health physicists and that it is critical that we build on our collaboration to reduce occupational disease.

The Foundation is developing the main strategies which will be a mix of longer and shorter term projects. These may include:

  • Advocacy to better define the burden of occupational health on the Australian workforce;
  • Advocacy and support for education and training in specific industries where OH awareness may be low;
  • Support for specific research projects;
  • Develop affiliations with government agencies, industry bodies and unions to have greater reach into the community. This may include forming working groups and assisting specific areas in occupational environment that have little occupational hygiene and support. Examples of this include agriculture, some remote workplaces, and small to medium businesses.

The AIOH Foundation was established by the AIOH and is a registered charity and is a separate entity to the AIOH. The AIOH is currently the only Member of the Foundation, so this means that the AIOH Foundation is the AIOH member’s Foundation and we welcome your involvement.

The Constitution sets out the principal purpose and rules of the Foundation.

The current Board is as follows:

The Foundation will be rigorous in its selection of areas to receive funding and will aim to use any money donated wisely. We aim to minimise administration costs and recognise the AIOH’s generous administrative and logistic support. Board Members will of course receive no remuneration. It is also important to note that the sum of money raised is not a measure of success, rather the advances that we can contribute to in the elimination of workplace illness.

Kerr, C et al, National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, 1996 Best Estimate of the Magnitude of Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Substances;

Reed, S et al, AIOH 2013 Principles of Occupational Health and Hygiene, An Introduction

The AIOH Foundation Board

(John) Charles Steer

Charles Steer (COH, FAIOH) is a certified occupational hygienist, industrial chemist and chemical engineer with post graduate qualifications in occupational hygiene and environmental studies. He has had extensive experience in health, safety, occupational hygiene, environment, risk management and chemical technology holding senior corporate positions in these areas in the electricity industry in South Australia until mid-2000.

Charles has been predominantly occupied since that time in occupational health science consulting across a range of industries including mining, the power industry and manufacturing as well as indoor office settings. The consulting work has included strategic health management focusing on setting up sustainable occupational health management frameworks, occupational hygiene consulting, mentoring as well as exposure assessment and hands on monitoring of health affecting agents such as gases, particulates, noise and heat.

Charles is currently Director of Health with Safety Pty Ltd.

Charles is a past President of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH), is currently a member of the AIOH Exposure Standards Committee and was a member of the Leadership Group of the Occupational Hygiene Training Association for five years.

Charles was awarded the Pam de Silva Award by the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists in 2015.

Melanie Jensen

Melanie Jensen (COH, MAIOH) Divisional Health and Safety Manager Wesfarmers Chemical, Energy and Fertilisers.

Melanie has over the past 20 years of extensive health and safety experience in a diverse arrange of industries including oil and gas, regulatory, aviation, manufacturing, mining, exploration, chemical and fertiliser manufacturing at union and non-union sites. For 15 years this experience has included managing health, safety and medical teams and executing effective change programs to result in measurable improvements in injury rates and safety culture.
Melanie is an industrial chemist with a graduate diploma in Occupational Hygiene and a Masters in OH&S whose experience extends from ‘hands on’ leadership over HSE integration and transformation activities, to strategic advice on system design, effectiveness, integration and behavioral challenges.

Prior to working at Wesfarmers Chemical Energy and Fertilisers as the Divisional Health and Safety Manager, Melanie held various senior Occupational Hygiene and Safety roles at BHP, BP and Boeing Australia, Victorian WorkSafe and Exxon Mobil.

Melanie was the winner of the 2010 Drager Young Hygienist of the year award.

Ryk Eksteen, Audit Principal, Collins & Co - Melbourne

Ryk is the Audit Principal of Collins & Co in Melbourne. He is a Chartered Accountant with more than 20 years’ experience advising privately owned businesses and their owners and not-for-profit organisations.

Collins & Co is the largest accounting firm in the Western Suburbs. Drawing on over 60 years' experience advising businesses across various industries, the firm has extensive expertise in working with Not-for-Profit organisations.

He specialises in the areas of audit and business advisory and has extensive experience advising and auditing for-profit and not-for-profit organisations, including dealing with their compliance requirements and best practice governance. His approach is to place an emphasis on understanding the client’s objectives, systems, risk exposure, accounting policies and governance issues. His involvement in these organisations enables management to focus their time where it should be spent on achieving the organisation's objective of making a valuable contribution to the wider community.

Ryk is a Registered Company Auditor, a registered SMSF Auditor, has a Bachelor of Accounting and an Honours Degree in Accounting and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.