The International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) is delighted to announce that the Brick Kiln Committee of Workplace Health Without Borders (WHWB) and Global Fairness Initiative (GFI) will be the first recipients of the IOHA Collaboration Award. This new Award honours collaboration between an occupational/industrial hygiene organisation and other countries or organisations to share ideas and technologies to improve the calibre of occupational/industrial hygiene worldwide.

Nominated by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the Brick Kiln Committee of WHWB and GFI were voted the winners for achieving outstanding results through collaboration, leading to better global understanding of brick kiln hazards. They worked together to establish a Centre at Kathmandu University in Nepal to collect data on sampling, analysis, medical information, extent of child labour, and hazardous exposures in brick kilns. Through this international database, researchers around the world will better coordinate information on health and safety issues in brick kilns. The Centre will provide valuable insights into working conditions and child labour in brick kilns, effective exposure measurement techniques, and solutions for controlling exposure and protecting worker health. The video is introduced by Dr. William S. Carter, the WHWB Brick Kiln Committee Chair whose dedication and perseverance ensured the success of the project.

Watch the video here.

The IOHA Collaboration Award will be presented on 26 September at the 11th IOHA International Scientific Conference (IOHA 2018), hosted by AIHA, in Washington, DC. Collecting the Award and speaking about the project on behalf of their respective organisations will be Dr. Seshananda Sanjel (WHWB) and Homraj Acharya (GFI), both of whom have been key participants in the project and enthusiastic collaborators.

Homraj Acharya is the Country Director for Nepal at GFI.  He is an international development professional with significant work experience in non-governmental organizations, government and private sector entities. A trainer, facilitator and coach, he has experience working in challenging environments and change-resistant communities and cultural ecosystems. He has built vertical and horizontal linkages across diverse stakeholder groups while establishing the Better Brick Nepal programme.

Dr. Seshenanda Sanjel is an Assistant Professor at Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences, Dhulikel, Community Medicine in Nepal. With a PhD in Environmental Science – Occupational Health from Kathmandu University, he has over 16 years of experience in public health, including epidemiology and occupational health. Dr. Sanjel has been working for years to improve the health of brick kiln workers in Nepal. He is a member of WHWB and an active participant in the WHWB Brick Kiln Committee, the latter having been formed to work with partners to assess exposure of brick kiln workers and develop ways to protect their health. Dr. Sanjel has also been a part of the Better Brick Nepal movement.

Andrea Hiddinga-Schipper, President of IOHA 2017-18, said: “This new award was created to celebrate collaboration, which is key to everything IOHA stands for. The Centre at Kathmandu University will improve global understanding of brick kiln hazards and encourage further international cooperation. On behalf of everyone at IOHA, I congratulate the Brick Kiln Committee of Workplace Health Without Borders and Global Fairness Initiative on their remarkable achievement. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Sanjel and Mr Acharya to IOHA 2018.”

Ms Hiddinga-Schipper also noted that there has been an enthusiastic response to the IOHA Collaboration Award. The winning project, chosen by an independent judging panel, was one of five excellent nominations submitted by IOHA member associations, highlighting the diverse and innovative approaches to collaboration within the global occupational hygiene community.

The WHWB/GFI project received high scores for the following: its alignment with the IOHA strategy 2016 – 2020, especially the strategic goal “strong network”; its direct effect/impact on working conditions in the country where the project was carried out; and the level of continuity for the future, in terms of cooperation that will lead to sustainable improvements. It was particularly noted that the project not only covers traditional occupational/industrial hygiene issues, but also related fields such as child labour, helping the most vulnerable people in society.

IOHA would like to thank Johnson & Johnson, Shell International Ltd and Nederlandse Vereniging voor Arbeidshygiëne (NVvA) for their generous sponsorship of the IOHA Collaboration Award.

IOHA 2018
The 11th IOHA International Scientific Conference (IOHA 2018) will be held at the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, from 24 – 26 September 2018. The theme is “Bringing Better Health to Workers Worldwide.” To register please visit the conference website.

About IOHA
IOHA was established to improve, promote and develop occupational hygiene worldwide through its member organisations, and to improve and maintain a safe and healthy working environment for all. From its creation in 1987, IOHA has grown to 35 member organisations, representing over 20,000 occupational hygienists and related professionals worldwide. News about IOHA, its member associations and the international occupational hygiene community is published in IOHA’s newsletter, Global Exposure Manager, available here.