The AIHA Value Strategy – a new tool to advance worker health protection

By Guest Author:
Bernard D. Silverstein, CIH, President TVS Associates, LLC

In this turbulent economy, business and government organizations are experiencing increasing pressure to reduce spending and increase efficiencies. In this environment, industrial hygienists and other health, safety and environmental (HSE) professionals are increasingly expected to present a balanced picture of the relationship between potential health risks associated with work processes and operating costs and benefits associated with projects to address these workplace risks. To gain support for HSE protection projects, programs and activities as a persuasive business case, HSE professionals must demonstrate financial benefits as well as project alignment with business goals and objectives.

Identifying effective and efficient solutions that protect worker health and safety, while creating a competitive advantage for an enterprise is the winning formula. Utilizing the AIHA Value Strategy, the HSE professional will begin to be viewed as a partner with business executives to manage enterprise risks. Effective risk management coupled with business case analysis of solutions for decision making will increasingly represent the competitive advantage of our profession.

The new AIHA Value Strategy is a decision logic and framework to help industrial hygienists and HSE professionals organize their thinking as they develop a business argument to support their control measures or program recommendations. The output of this business case study is a value proposition that summarizes the benefits that the business will realize by approving a new proposal or augmenting an existing program. Management’s approval reflects their willingness to invest resources, typically people and budgets, to accrue the stated benefit. In its simplest form, the AIHA value strategy represents a framework for project identification and supports it with relevant financial analysis and non-financial business metrics. The Strategy is appealing because it can be applied and scaled to:

  • A range of projects from simple to complex,
  • Multimillion dollar projects to narrowly scoped programs costing a few thousand dollars,
  • Small businesses to multinational companies,
  • Business, government and not-for-profit organizations.

The AIHA Value Strategy represents the sum total of benefits for the organization and answers management’s question: “What is in it for me if I invest in health protection control measures?” Utilizing the AIHA Value Strategy (available at www.IHValue.org) allows the HSE professional to advance employee health and safety using classical business methods.

The AIHA Value Strategy is a comprehensive process where the HSE professionals align risk management with business objectives, promoting stakeholder values. Utilizing the Value Strategy process, promoting health and safety interventions through business alignment, stakeholder value, and financial analysis, the HSE professional will be able to compete for limited resources advancing worker protection.

Mr. Silverstein is a long-term associate of EES.  He can be reached at BDS@TVSAssociates.com or visit his web site at www.TVSAssociates.com.

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