On 12th January 2015 OHTA took a major step forward in its development. Revised Articles of Association were approved by the Board, changing the legal framework under which OHTA operates and making way for a new structure designed to enable greater involvement from IOHA and national associations. Soon after the Board Meeting the associations were invited to become members of the new-look OHTA, with an encouraging response already.
After nearly five years of expansion, changes were necessary to ensure a sustainable rate of growth. Since being launched in May 2010, the international training scheme and qualifications framework has thrived on collaboration, with national associations, training providers and employers working together to promote better standards of occupational hygiene practice around the world. With over 50 training providers, more than 400 courses delivered in 38 countries and OHlearning website users in 197 countries, there is plenty to celebrate, but there is also a lot more to do, and huge potential to develop the scheme further.
Under the new arrangements, the existing directors have all agreed to stand down prior to the AGM that will be held during the IOHA 2015 Conference in London in April to make way for a new board. To ensure continuity and assist with the management of change, three of the current directors will be elected by members to serve on the new board, where they will be joined by Steve Perkins, Chief Executive of BOHS; Peter O’Neil, Executive Director of AIHA and Barry Westhorpe, Executive Director of AIOH. The board approved their appointments with immediate effect so that they can work alongside the current board until April. IOHA has also been invited to nominate a director and he/she will join the board once IOHA have notified us of their decision.
Interest Grows from National Associations
OHTA’s new constitution has been welcomed by national occupational hygiene associations around the world. At the time of writing (early February), in addition to AIHA, AIOH and BOHS, the Taiwanese, New Zealand , Belgian and Southern African associations have all signed the agreement to become members, with several more expressing interest. This is wonderful news and we encourage all the associations to join. Membership entitles associations to vote at general meetings (including in the election of Directors of OHTA) so it’s a real opportunity for associations to get more involved and have their say in the future direction of OHTA. By signing the agreement the association confirms that it is committed to promoting international training and qualifications in occupational hygiene, supports the objectives of OHTA, and will encourage, promote and support the use of OHTA approved training modules and qualifications.
Changes in the operation of OHTA began last autumn when a contract was signed with BOHS to provide paid staff support and Roz Phillips joined OHTA as Development Manager. While a network of volunteers will still be central to OHTA’s operations, we believe that a paid administrative resource, focusing on developing OHlearning as a non-profit business, will enable the association to flourish. One of Roz’s current tasks is to manage OHTA’s application for charitable status in the UK, now the new Articles have been formally approved. Roz acts as a central point of contact for many OHTA activities and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Progress with Courses and Translations
The new Chief Editor, Bob Nocco, and his Editorial Board are in the process of reviewing the current eight course modules with a view to updating them.
Meanwhile work continues on the development of a new module on silica by Workplace Health Without Borders and two specialist modules on the pharmaceuticals and the oil & gas industries. Further courses are in the early stages of development, including Control Banding and Mining.
A number of new translations are also under way, including a recently completed Mandarin version of W501 and a glossary of terms that has been generously funded by AIHA International Affairs Committee.
Join the conversation on LinkedIn and Twitter
We have recently set up a LinkedIn group. If you would like to find out the latest OHlearning and OHTA news, share ideas and participate in discussion about global occupational hygiene training, please join the group here
You can also follow us on Twitter (@OHlearning).
Launch on 27th April
The formal launch of the new OHTA will take place at the IOHA 2015 Conference in London, where we are holding a plenary session from 17.45 to 18.45 on Monday 27th April. Details are still to be finalised but we expect the session to include a celebration of OHTA’s achievements so far, feedback from the recent AGM including the announcement of the remaining directors and an update on recent developments.