AIHce 2014: Latin American Panelists Cite Enforcement, Regulatory Challenges

Inconsistent and limited enforcement is one of the top challenges, they said.

SAN ANTONIO -- Several top occupational hygiene professionals from Latin American countries participated in a June 2 panel discussion of issues their profession faces, one of the highlights of the educational program during the first day of the full 2014 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo taking place here. They cited several challenges that are common throughout the region and ways their national occupational hygiene associations are addressing them.

Eduardo Shaw, safety and IH manager for the $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion project now under way, discussed the multiple governmental agencies that have enacted safety, health, IH, and environmental protection regulations in Panama -- some of which overlap without being consistent, he explained.

Enney Gonzalez, a mechanical engineer who is president of Colombia's occupational hygiene association, said lawsuits, regulations, and unions drive OSH and IH compliance and its improvement in his country. Gonzalez, whose presentation was translated into English by Wilson Rodriguez of Intercon, Inc., said industrial hygienists in Colombia are pushing for more regulations to cover areas that are not currently addressed, including confined spaces and heat stress.

Associations throughout the region collaborate to present large IH conferences, including one later this year in Colombia that will attract more than 1,900 professionals, Rodriguez said. He mentioned one way in which the region is ahead of the United States in terms of industrial hygiene: Many of the countries have adopted ACGIH's TLVs as law.

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