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 AIOH Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of its inaugural round of applications for project grants. For organisations to successful in receiving a grant, their projects must improve the understanding, prevention and control of workplace disease in Australia. To apply, organisations need to complete the Project Application Form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications need to be submitted by 31 August.
For more information on the project grant application process, refer to the Project Application Form or email Info@aiohfoundation.org.au.
DONATE TO THE AIOH FOUNDATION
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.
At the end of 2019 the AIOH Foundation published a paper advocating for improved reporting of occupational disease deaths in Australia. It highlights the deficits in Australia’s occupational disease fatality reporting compared with other similar countries and outlines why this is preventing effective prevention measures. The paper can be found here.
The AIOH Foundation was established by the AIOH and is a registered 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.
Current board members are:
Previous board members include Charles Steer, Mel Windhust, Ryk Ecksteen and Caroline Langley.
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 ;
Reed, S et al, AIOH 2013
The AIOH Foundation Board
Andrew Bennett - Chair
Andrew is an experienced occupational hygienist based in Brisbane, who is passionate about improving health for Australian workers. Andrew’s current role involves leading the Brisbane-based Shell Health team to develop and deliver occupational health services to Shell’s assets and projects in Queensland. Prior to joining Shell he spent 10 years with BP Australia. He is a Full Member of the AIOH, a Certified Occupational Hygienist and has recently completed a Masters of International Public Health.
Philip is an occupational hygienist of 35+ years’ experience. He is a Fellow of the AIOH, a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH)®, and a Full Member of the NZOHS. He was honoured to be invited to join the Board of the AIOH Foundation and sees this as an opportunity to raise the profile of occupational health issues in the Australian workforce and broader community.
He began his career with the Health Commission of Victoria in their Occupational Health Division. In 1994, he established Hibbs & Associates Pty Ltd, a Risk Management consulting practice delivering specialist consulting services in occupational hygiene, the management of hazardous building materials, and environmental management.
Robert holds post-graduate degrees in Analytical Chemistry and Toxicology and is a Certified Occupational Hygienist and Fellow of the AIOH. He has been a practising Occupational Hygienist since 1982 initially with Victorian government and more recently in consulting. Robert is Principal Occupational Hygienist with AMCOSH Pty Ltd, a private consulting firm based in Victoria, providing specialist OH services to a wide range of public and private sector clients. He is co-chair of the AIOH Exposure Standard Committee, a member of the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) Accreditation Advisory Committee for Life Sciences and represents the Institute on the Standards Australia CH-031 Methods for the Examination of Workplace Atmospheres Committee. Robert has been a member of conference committees for five AIOH annual conferences including as Scientific Chair for the Melbourne 2018 conference.
Robert received the AIOH’s Airmet Professional Development Award in 2002
Raelene is a Certified Occupational Hygienist with over 20 years’ experience in Oil and Gas. Raelene is currently the Health Manager and Lead Industrial Hygienist for Viva Energy Australia and is based in Victoria. Her portfolio extends to the management of the Viva Energy Health Team who ensure that workers are fit for duty and Occupational Hygiene support to all parts of their business.
Like all Occupational Hygienists, Raelene’s passion is to ensure that everyone can enjoy their retirement without an occupational illness especially in smaller business’ and young workers. She is very honoured to be on the AIOH Foundation Board and to be provided the opportunity to support the Australian community in the recognition of health risks and the implementation of appropriate controls.
Sally North (MAIOH) has qualifications in chemistry, occupational safety and health, business administration and occupational hygiene and toxicology. She has extensive experience as a work health and safety inspector, with a focus on occupational hygiene issues, and is currently a Director in a work health and safety regulatory agency. Sally leads a directorate of specialist inspectors focussing on occupational health and hygiene, human factors, ergonomics, plant and engineering as well as industry based work health and safety inspectors.
Sally has provided input into the development of national model legislation and codes, and works with other agencies on issues such as asbestos, flammable refrigerants and fitness for work.
Sally has experience as a school board member and is the past president of a not-for-profit association in the education sector.