The May 22 general session will bring all attendees together for a discussion on one of the most pressing issues in America, the opioids crisis and the potential for first responders to be dangerously exposed while working. (J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia photo)

All In for Philadelphia

The May 22 general session will bring all attendees together for a discussion on one of the most pressing issues in America, the opioids crisis and the potential for first responders to be dangerously exposed while working.

The leading industrial hygiene conference in the United States, the 2018 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition, takes place this month in downtown Philadelphia. Co-sponsored by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, AIHce EXP2018 is set for May 19-24 and will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, located across the street from Reading Terminal Market—the most-visited attraction that the city has to offer, according to Visit Philadelphia. The historical district, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center, is just a few blocks away.

Philadelphia Attractions
Visit Philadelphia's list of "The 10 Most Essential Things to Do on Your (First) Visit to Philly" includes the aforementioned attractions, as well as the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Parkway, sometimes called Philadelphia's most artistic mile, houses some of Philadelphia's most important cultural institutions, including The Franklin Institute, LOVE Park, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is the home of the ever-popular "Rocky Steps."

Many of Philadelphia's top attractions are on the Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop, a seasonal transit service that begins daily service in May. The PHLASH is $2 a ride, with all-day passes available for $5. Visitors can also take advantage of the nation's fifth-largest transit system, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). SEPTA's offerings include buses, subway, and trolley commuter services, and it offers a one-day, unlimited travel Independence Pass for $13.

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, with an estimated population of 1,567,872 as of 2016. According to Visit Philadelphia, an estimated 42 million domestic tourists visited Philadelphia in 2016. The city's average high and low daily temperatures in May are 74 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

Educational Program Highlights and Keynotes
The main conference will take place May 21-23, with Professional Development Courses (PDCs) scheduled for May 19, 20, and 24. PDCs are half-day, full-day, and two-day learning experiences that offer opportunities to learn from field experts, enhance technical competence, and help those who attend them gain practical tools and skills. PDC topics fall into a number of categories, including hazard prevention engineering, toxicology, disaster preparedness, noise control, heat stress, confined spaces, the OSHA beryllium standard, ergonomics, gas detection, safety management, and exposure assessment strategies.

The conference's educational program offers sessions organized into 30 tracks—everything from aerosols, big data, and exposure assessment strategies to nanotechnology, radiation, and sampling and analysis. These 60-minute sessions make up the majority of conference programming; there are 15-minute breaks between them to allow for travel from one presentation to the next.

Program highlights include the Derek Dunn Invited Noise Lecture, focused on avoiding hearing damage from impulse noise (11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., May 21), Help! I'm Being Audited by OSHA (2-3 p.m., May 22), Flash Fire and Explosions Caused by Electrostatic Discharge (10:15-11:15 a.m., May 23), Aerosols in Different Environments: Workplace Dust Fractions, Bioaerosol Sampling, and Theatrical Fog Use (3:15-4:15 p.m., May 21), and A Review on Airborne Fungal Spore Sampling Devices (10-11 a.m., May 22).

Rich Karlgaard, Forbes magazine editor-at-large and global futurist, will be the speaker for the Monday, May 21 opening session starting at 8 a.m. Karlgaard will kick off the conference by speaking about the trends affecting the future of the IH/OEHS profession in a presentation titled "Three Megatrends and Four Best Practices That Will Shape Your Business Future."

Tuesday morning's general session is sure to be memorable: It will bring attendees together for a discussion on one of the most pressing issues in America. A moderated roundtable discussion titled "Mitigating Opioid Exposure Risks to First Responders—What's Been Done, What's Left to Do & How You Can Help" is being offered to raise awareness about the opioids crisis and the potential for first responders, including law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, and crime lab analysts, to be exposed to opioids while working, as well as how to protect these responders.

Past AIHA President Steven E. Lacey, Ph.D., CIH, CSP, is listed as the panel's moderator. The panelists are scheduled to include AIHA Fellow Donna S. Heidel, CIH, FAIHA; Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel; and Dr. John Howard, M.D., MPH, director of NIOSH.

Col. (ret.) Kirk A. Phillips, currently the health safety and environment practice leader at LJB Inc., is the keynote speaker for May 23's 3:30 p.m. closing session, speaking on "Total Exposure Health: A Revolutionary Way to Think of Exposure and Primary Prevention." Phillips will discuss Total Exposure Health as a solution to capture workplace, environmental, and lifestyle exposures to the individual using advances in science, technology, and informatics as a method to help reduce short- and long-term health risks.

The Virtual Conference
AIHce EXP2018 also offers the AIHce EXP Virtual Conference for those who cannot attend in person. Virtual AIHce EXP is an interactive experience that includes the conference keynotes and more than 30 curated education sessions. Registration for the virtual conference experience includes online access to all session handouts and resources online, multi-track session broadcast, opportunities to submit questions for presenters and interact with other virtual participants via chat, and post-conference access to recorded live streams. Registrants for the virtual conference will pay fees ranging from $275 to $699 (member price) and $345 to $899 (non-member) to hear some or all of the sessions. Visit the Virtual Conference homepage for more information.

Expo Hours
The conference is taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia, which opened in 1993 and thus is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The convention center boasts more than 2 million space feet of space, including seven exhibit halls and more than 82 meeting rooms.

AIHce EXP2018 expo hours are:

  • Monday, May 21: 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 22: 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 23: 8:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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