“With 600,000 of these jobs intended for the construction industry and another 400,000 for manufacturing, AIHA believes it is vital that the appropriate number of health and safety professionals is included in this new labor force to protect these new workers,” wrote AIHA President Lindsey Booher, CIH, CSP. “As you move forward, we urge you to direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure that the new jobs created by your stimulus package have adequate workplace protections for these workers.”

The letter points out that each year, thousands of American workers die from preventable deaths, and 4.1 million occupational injuries and illnesses are reported. “This is a public health epidemic that can be greatly improved through the creation and enforcement of effective workplace health and safety programs, and industrial hygienists are critical to that progress,” said Booher.

According to AIHA, workplaces with an industrial hygienist or other occupational health and safety professional on staff have fewer workplace injuries and illnesses; are usually rated as better places to work; and have more satisfied, more productive employees who are more motivated to create value for the organization. This can result in decreased medical and operational costs, increased quality and productivity and stronger financial stability.

“President Obama, AIHA is sure you will do the right thing as you help America get back to work and you have our support in putting the safety and health of our workers first. Industrial hygienists add value to business, to the workplace and to people’s lives,” wrote Booher. “It is our hope that as your job creation stimulus package moves forward, your administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will work with employers, employee organizations and professional associations to ensure that worker health and safety remains a goal.”