The ASSE Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) remains active both on the federal and state levels. During the past year the Committee has focused upon:
Commentary on legislation/regulation;
Authorship of a plan to reinvigorate state government affairs;
Establishment of an alliance with OSHA on ergonomics;
Communication of ASSE positions; and
Enhancing the ASSE presence and involvement both on the Hill and at numerous agencies in Washington, DC.
The GAC is also focused upon improving the visibility of government affairs activities and encouraging greater involvement of our members in government affairs. At this PDC there will not only be several sessions related to governmental affairs but the GAC will be supporting activities to encourage members to interact with regulators.
The GAC has prioritized a list of issues to focus on this year. GAC activities, such as the regular visits to Capitol Hill, will be tailored to pursue ASSE objectives in these areas. The list of key priorities in descending order of importance, are as follows:
OSHA program management standard
Third-party workplace reviews
Indoor air quality/mold
Updating of PELs
Other issues which the GAC will continue to monitor, but at a lower level of emphasis, include:
Ergonomics standard proposals - both at the state and national levels
PhD distance learning program
OSHA coverage for state/local government employees
ANSI standards adoption by reference
ASSE signed an alliance with OSHA on ergonomics on December 4, 2002.
On January 15, 2003, President Mark. Hansen, Executive Director Robert. DeSiervo, and Governmental Affairs Manager David Heidorn met with OSHA staff to begin implementation of the partnership to discuss opportunities and approaches.
The implementation team meeting with OSHA to develop the ASSE/OSHA Alliance went extremely well. A meeting was also held with Lee Anne Jillings, Lisa Ramber and Kevin Grayson from the Washington OSHA offices and with Robert Curtis from OSHA's Salt Lake City Technical Center.
In essence, after considerable positive discussion and idea development, the team agreed on the following broad approaches:
Involve ASSE members in industry-specific ergonomics projects from the beginning of the industry project. For instance, if OSHA begins an ergonomic guidelines project for refrigerator door manufacturing, ASSE members involved in that industry would be brought into the project to help develop appropriate ergonomic tools and techniques. What is interesting is that OSHA wants to include activities such as site visits to enhance this process. The intent is to make available for observation both functional and hands-on approaches. These are activities our members could very well help shape and develop. OSHA agreed to provide a list of the current and upcoming projects to ASSE. Knowledge of these projects will permit ASSE to suggest members for inclusion in projects in which we believe our members have something to offer. Such opportunities will serve to enhance the positive image of our members and create opportunities for personal and professional growth.