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Thursday March 10, 2016

President's Message

Bradley King

Greetings to all of the members in the AIHA Rocky Mountain Section (RMS)--I hope 2016 has gotten off to a wonderful start for you! On behalf of this year’s RMS leadership team, I’d like to wish everyone much professional and personal success in the coming year.

We have a dynamic and excited group of individuals on this year’s Executive Board and Board of Directors, some of whom you may recognize from their many years of service to the RMS and others who are fresh faces and new to service on the Board. Our 2016 leadership team includes:
Past President: Barb O'Kane                Director (Legislative): Brian O'Malley    
President Elect: Tim Lockhart              Director (Membership): Brandy Howard
Treasurer: Megan Meagher                 Director (Newsletter): Bree Beck
Secretary: Sara Funk                            Director (Outreach): Sara Kaiman
Director (Education): Holli Merchant    Director (Programs): Linda Hendrix
Director (International): Bevin Luna     Director (Web): Roberta Smith

For more photos of our Board members, please visit our 2016 Leadership page on our RMS website. Be sure to say hello and introduce yourself the next time you see any of us at our section events!

I’d also like to personally include a note of thanks to Barb O’Kane for her successful leadership of the 2015 Board and her valued mentorship to myself and the rest of the Board Members.  I first volunteered for the RMS two years ago when Barb O’Kane was soliciting names of volunteers to participate on the 2014 Fall Technical Conference coordinating committee. At the time, I had recently moved to Colorado to take a new position as an industrial hygienist at NIOSH’s Western States Office in Denver. As such, I knew very few people in the local industrial hygiene community and wanted to expand my professional network. Working on the Fall Tech committee more than exceeded my expectations as I quickly got to know and interact with many of the wonderful members who make up our Section. With Barb’s encouragement, I decided to pursue further leadership opportunities within the Section and I’m excited to work to advance the industrial hygiene profession at a local level in my role as this year’s RMS president.

The area I’d like to focus my attention on this year is the theme of Increased Involvement. We’ve set goals for increasing the number of section members becoming involved with and attending the section’s planned events for this year. We plan on hosting networking social hours that will be opportunities for our members to come together and network outside of planned educational events and the Fall Technical Conference. We also plan on requesting feedback from our members this year on how we are doing in meeting the expectations you have for us as a Section. We’ll be asking questions like “are there needs you have as a Section member that you’d like to see improved?” and “are there ways we can make Section membership even more valuable than it already is?” I am very much looking forward to working with the Board and our Section’s membership in continuing to create a model Section for the rest of the country.

Our board members are already hard at work in developing a full slate of events for this year. As a member, you will have access to events such the Annual Fall Technical Conference, Lunch-and-Learns, a Technical Tour behind-the-scenes look at a local worksite, the annual holiday party and food drive, and a variety of professional development and educational courses. I’m very excited to see our Section continue to develop a professional partnership with the TUIASI International Affiliate Section, Gheorghe Asachi Technical University in Romania, which we hope will lead to sharing of technical ideas and information between our two groups. Lastly, I’d like to remind everyone to take advantage of the complimentary subscription to the AIHA eLearning series of webinars that our section has been awarded; see below for more details.

I know I’m excited to be part of the Section this year and I invite all our members to increase their own involvement in the offerings that we have planned over the coming months.  We are looking forward to seeing you at one of our events soon!

If you have not already done so please renew your AIHA-RMS Membership! Just visit our website, annual dues are $30 ($5 for students, unemployed, and free for retirees). If you are a National AIHA member you can also renew your local membership and national membership at the same time. PLEASE NOTE:  There is a month delay before the AIHA-RMS is notified of members who paid local dues through National AIHA.
Please be reminded that each member creates a profile when they join the local section.  Members are responsible for updating their own profiles.  Make sure your email address is current so you can receive the most current information from AIHA-RMS.  

Please recommend membership to AIHA-RMS to a new colleague or remind those colleagues who have been away from our organization of the benefits of rejoining. Your continued membership with the local section is important and we look forward to having you for another year!!!
E-Learning Subscription!
Thanks to all our members (you!) we received a free e-learning subscription to all of AIHA 2016 webinars. We have two free lines for the live sessions, these viewings will be coordinated by our Education Committee Chair, Holli Merchant. However, we have unlimited lines for recorded sessions, this means you can go onto the website and view 2016 recorded webinars at any time. Please note that we do not have access to past years recorded webinars, only 2016. Follow this link to find out what is available and what's coming up.

Committee Updates


International Committee:

- Bevin Luna
Happy springtime everyone! The international committee is excited to announce that we have been approved by the board of directors to extend an invitation to a Romania colleague from Gheorghe Asachi Technical University (TUIASI) in Iasi, Romania to visit Colorado. The selected individual will travel to Colorado to speak at a seminar later this year to discuss experiences and challenges faced in Romania in the field of Industrial Hygiene. In addition, the committee has also been hard at work with TUIASI representatives and Colorado State University representatives to coordinate logistics for a visiting student scholar. Once the program is in place, the student will travel to Colorado for a duration of four to six weeks. During that time, the student will attend Industrial Hygiene courses at Colorado State University. They will also shadow professionals in the field to observe the variety of industries that are common to our region. If interested, local section members will have the opportunity to invite the student scholar to shadow them in the field which will fulfill our goal to provide professional development opportunities to local section members and international affiliate members. In the future, the ultimate goal is to provide this same opportunity for student members of the local section to travel to Romania and gain valuable knowledge regarding the practice of Industrial Hygiene in the areas surrounding TUIASI.


Outreach Committee:

-Sarah Kaiman
AIHA-RMS members continue to be involved in the occupational health committee in 2016!

On March 3rd, AIHA-RMS members will serve as panel judges for the poster sessions at the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP-ERC) 8th Annual Research Day Symposium, presenting a $100 award to the poster exhibit that best promotes occupational health and safety. The MAP-ERC is a worker health and safety education and research center within the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health, is one of the 18 ERCs funded by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (CDC/NIOSH). The purpose of research Day is to showcase amazing student research in occupational and environmental health and safety as well as to highlight MAP-ERC alumni experiences. 

On April 7th, AIHA-RMS members will be serving as panel judges to handout a "Special Award" at the 61st annual Colorado Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF). A $250 award will be presented to a senior division exhibit that the panel of judges feels best promotes the improvement of worker and/or community health and safety. A special thanks goes out to AIHA-RMSs members Bevin Luna, MaryAnn Heaney, Sarah Kaiman, Cynthia Ellwood, and Emily Hornung for volunteering to serve on the judging panel. Please visit the CSEF website for more information. 

We will provide you with an update about the award winners in the next newsletter. The Outreach Committee is interested in seeking opportunities to market the wonderful profession of occupational health/industrial hygiene to high school students. Please reach out to Sarah Kaiman ( if you know of any opportunities for the local section to promote itself to these audiences (e.g., STEM events, career days, etc.). Thanks!


Education Committee:

- Holli Merchant
On July 7, 2016 AIHA-RMS will be hosting a four-hour presentation called The Worst Plant-A Virtual H&S Audit. This presentation has been presented to many different chapters across the country and almost always sells out. We are lucky to have it for the Rocky Mountain Section. Here is the description:

Thousands of companies around the world currently utilize internal, external or a combination of technical and management resources to conduct regulatory compliance audits, inspections, and assessments of their operations with the results being used as one of the company's many health and safety performance metrics. This highly audience participative presentation will take attendees through a photographic tour of "the worst plant in the world"...actually an assemblage of digital photographs of various regulatory compliance issues noted during the speakers' 75+ years of regulatory compliance audits and assessments. As photos are shown, the instructors will quiz attendees on the various issues noted and where they might be found in the OSHA regulations. In addition, instructors will provide case histories that backup select photos. The full-range of OHS topics will be covered, from abrasive wheels to Subpart Z. 

Upon completion, participants will be able to improve their recognition skill for various health and safety hazards and compliance issues that can occur in the workplace. Navigate various OSHA standards, compliance directives, and letter of interpretation. Apply various OSHA regulations as they pertain to the topics presented and interpret various regulatory issues. 

Welcome New Board Members!

Timothy Lockhart - President Elect
Timothy Lockhart is an Industrial Hygienist for the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder), where he also serves as a member of the Leadership Team for Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S). He is responsible for a variety of programs such as asbestos and lead management, indoor air quality, employee exposure assessments, hazardous exhaust ventilation, and employee training. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, as well as a Master of Science degree in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Prior to joining the EH&S team at CU-Boulder, Mr. Lockhart worked as a consulting industrial hygienist for eight years and helped manage and limit health and safety risks for various industrial and corporate clients. As a consultant he developed and implemented EH&S programs, assessed health risks associated with worker exposure, conducted IAQ investigations, and implemented various strategies to help protect worker health and safety. His deep understanding of federal and state regulations and available technology sets him apart from other industrial hygienists and has allowed him to provide significant cost savings for clients, while ensuring sound health and safety solutions.
Sara Funk - Secretary
Mrs. Funk is an industrial hygienist at Chemistry & Industrial Hygiene, Inc. (C&IH).  Founded in 1987, C&IH provides international consulting for industrial hygiene concerns with an emphasis on health-risk assessments of environmental and occupational exposures.  Mrs. Funk earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences and a Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene from Colorado State University.  Her educational background includes toxicology, epidemiology, microbiology, chemistry, industrial hygiene, environmental health, public health, and ergonomics.  At C&IH, Mrs. Funk performs industrial hygiene exposure assessments for chemical, physical, and biological health and safety hazards in mining, manufacturing, and other industrial environments.  She has developed, reviewed, and revised C&IH corporate health and safety programs for compliance with ANSI/AIHA Z10-2005 and OHSAS 18001:2007 standards for the implementation and maintenance of the corporate OHS management system.  Mrs. Funk is also a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist as well as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP).
Brian O'Malley - Legislative Committee
Brian O’Malley received his BS in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and MS in Environmental Health Management from Oregon State University.  He is currently serving as the EHS Officer for Metro Wastewater Reclamation District and primarily tasked with developing a new EHS system within which exposure assessments play a critical role.  To meet a rapidly growing metro area, a new treatment facility is nearing completion in Brighton.  Current work has focused on creating a dynamic EHS system at this new facility that could be a model for the industry. To help further strengthen the need for proactive EHS within the water/wastewater industry, he is also the current Safety Committee Chair of the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association.
Brandy Howard - Membership
Brandy Howard is currently a Project Manager at Landmark Environmental, Inc.  She has a BS in Engineering and an MS in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.  Brandy currently works primarily on construction cost estimation, environmental health and safety, and industrial hygiene projects.  In the past, she also operated an asbestos and mycology laboratory in Denver.  Brandy first got involved with AIHA-RMS by volunteering for the Fall Technical Conference in 2015.  She is excited to further contribute to AIHA-RMS as the Membership Director for 2016-2017.

Member's Corner

Things Aren't Always What You Assume Them To Be

By Brian Oberbeck

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was assigned to investigate employee complaints of workplace illness at an injection molding facility.  The employees felt that something on the production lines was causing their illness.  Symptoms included a broad spectrum: headaches, dry skin, rashes, eye irritation, and nasal bleeding.  As industrial hygienists, we are tasked with identifying, evaluating, and controlling the source of worker complaints of “something in the workplace is making me sick”. 

This facility molded parts made from pellets of polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, nylon, or ABS.  Upon entering the workplace, receiving an orientation to the production lines and observing work activities, I interviewed workers with regard to the timing of their symptoms, work practices, personal protective equipment used, or any knowledge they may have had of the source of the illness.  The majority of employees I interviewed confirmed that they had some or all of the symptoms mentioned above.  At this facility, employees stated that they would feel progressively worse as the day passed, but the worst symptoms occurred Monday afternoons.  I learned that the injection molding machines were purged Monday mornings prior to a new run.  I observed that local exhaust ventilation was not provided at the injection molding machines.  One exhaust fan was located on the wall of the warehouse-like building.  Could their symptoms have been caused by exposure to decomposition products from the purging?  Perhaps, but that still didn’t explain the rash or nose bleeds issues.

MSDS’s for the chemicals on the production lines were examined for decomposition products.   I returned to the facility and sampled for styrene, hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide during the purging process.  Analysis of the samples found no styrene and only 1ppm hydrogen chloride was detected.  I had observed propane fueled forklifts and a natural gas space heater in the warehouse the first day.  I measured carbon monoxide levels at worker positions.  Personal monitoring of forklift operators did not find overexposure to carbon monoxide. 

While sampling, employees told me that they felt the “black pellets” generated when rejected molded parts were ground down to pellets for reuse, were the source of the rash.  I examined the grinder, which did not have local exhaust, allowing dust to escape the grinder into the immediate work environment.  Workers had dust coating their skin.  Workers confirmed that their skin itched and sometimes a rash developed.  The black pellets were determined to be polypropylene.  Skin irritation is a known symptom of exposure to polypropylene dust.

While the source of the itching and rash seemed to be solved, I still had not found the source of the headaches, nose bleeds, or malaise.  I observed a number of workers enter a large detached room on the mezzanine.  I asked the manager what the room was and was told it was the employee break area.  A second glance at the room noted no sign of ventilation ducting leading to or from the room.  I took a Drager Pac III dosimeter (CO2) to the breakroom.  I also grabbed a TSI IAQCalc to measure humidity and temperature.  The dosimeter measured levels as high as 1200ppm CO2.  Certainly not in excess of the OSHA PEL, but such a concentration could contribute to the headaches and malaise described by employees and did fit the pattern of symptoms as described by employees.  The IAQCalc found humidity levels less than 20% (it was winter).  Over the course of the remaining shift, I saw the carbon dioxide levels climb to 1300ppm.  The manager confirmed there was no ventilation in the break room.  The low humidity may have contributed to the skin irritation or nose bleeds.

Wrapping up the inspection, the employer and I worked to establish periodic inspections of the forklifts and space heater to ensure CO levels were controlled.  I encouraged the use of local exhaust for the injection molding machines, discussed periodic air monitoring of the purging process, set up a hygiene program for grinders to remove dust from the skin, and recommended installation of ventilation for the break room.

The employer later informed me that ventilation was installed in the employee break room and a preventative maintenance program was established for the forklifts and space heaters.  Employees were trained to wash their hands and remove the dust.  The employer did not install local exhaust ventilation at the injection molding machines.

Lessons I learned from this inspection: (1) don’t try to fit all health effects into one source (2) don’t assume that chemicals that the employee works with or the process that the employee works on is the only possible cause of the ill health effect.


Board of Directors Meetings:
Everyone is welcome! Meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month (except June and July) from 5 to 6:30 pm. If you would like to attend please contact the Board President, Bradley King ( 
Copyright © 2016 AIHA - Rocky Mountain Section, All rights reserved.

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