Healthy Air Episode #8

Episode #8
How COVID is impacting occupational health and safety | Larry Sloan

In this episode, Larry Sloan talks about industrial hygiene and how the pandemic is elevating the importance of occupational health and safety.

Larry stepped into his role as CEO at the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) in October of 2016. Prior to this, he served as CEO for seven years at SOCMA, a trade association representing the interest of the US specialty chemical industry, where he started his nonprofit career at the Adhesive and Sealant Council, a trade association representing adhesive and sealant manufacturers. He was promoted to his first CEO role there in January of 2005.

Larry began his career as a chemical engineer at Air Products and later worked for Nalco Chemical Company in marketing, manufacturing, and sales capacities. He earned a BS degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and later graduated from Northwestern Kellogg’s Graduate School of Management where he earned his MBA. 

Keeping air safe has never been more important. Now that we are in the next normal, it is critical that the air we breathe in shared indoor spaces is healthy and safe for continued occupancy. Are we ready to face this challenge and mitigate airborne exposure risk indoors? Welcome to Healthy Air, a podcast that talks about the future of buildings and how to keep air safe and healthy. Keep up with the latest industry trends, latest technologies, and regulatory changes with your host, Erik Malmstrom, industry experts, and the SafeTraces team here on Healthy Air.

SHOW NOTES:

  • An overview of Larry’s background [1:18]
  • How Larry’s chemical engineering background informs how he thinks about his role and organizational leadership right now [6:58]
  • A look at the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) [8:57]
  • How the pandemic has shifted things for the American Industrial Hygiene Association [12:41]
  • Larry’s recent publications, about the joint consensus statement on aerosol transmission [16:26]
  • The impact of the pandemic on the industrial hygiene profession [22:48]
  • The role that industrial hygiene professionals play in making sense of data and sensors [28:24]
  • As children and teachers are returning to school, what should our priorities be? [30:05]
  • Are we learning from the pandemic? [33:05]
  • What will the AIHA’s conference look like this year [36:56]
  • What information Larry is reading currently [38:38]
  • Closing thoughts [41:55]

Resources:

  • Resources Mentioned:
    • Synergist Weekly – https://www.aiha.org/publications/the-synergist/synergist-weekly
    • Synergist Newswire – https://www.aiha.org/publications/the-synergist/synergist-newswire
    • Journal of Occupational Environmental Health – https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/yjoh20/current
    • Probability Matters podcast – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/probability-matters/id1496778324
  • The American Industrial Hygiene Association – https://www.aiha.org/
  • Larry’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lawrence-sloan-bb88a6/

QUOTES:

“My engineering background, focus on process and making sure that the steps are clear and transparent to all the different stakeholders has really benefited me in my role as CEO.”

“We snapped into action and recognized that this pandemic was a once in a lifetime opportunity to really flex our muscle and to demonstrate leadership with respect to COVID.”

“I really consider COVID to be a black swan event that has really raised the visibility of the profession in AIHA.”

“I think that the COVID pandemic is going to elevate and sustain a very keen awareness about the importance of occupational health and safety to business management.”

“All of these emerging and innovative technologies allow for more automation and really help to enhance the situational awareness to deal with COVID-19 in the workplace.”

“When the next pandemic comes, hopefully, a long time from now, we’ll be better prepared. We’ll have PPE, incubators, respirators, and all the things we should have stockpiled years ago.”

“What does the workplace of the future look like? The pandemic has obviously shined a light on what precautions are going to be put into the workplace for many, many years to come.”

“Mark Cuban challenged us and said ‘If you’re all about worker health and safety, you need to develop guidance documents because there isn’t a lot of guidance from federal agencies.’”

“We’re trying to generate awareness in children about a career in occupational health. Many children aren’t even aware that we’re a profession and of our great value proposition.”

“School operators and engineering teams need to consult with industrial hygienists to figure out what can be done to enhance air quality in the classroom.”

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