AIHA LAP E-News 2023 Year-End Edition
Message from the AIHA LAP Executive Director
Greetings AIHA LAP Accredited Labs and Stakeholders~
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support in 2023 and wish you a Happy New Year. Having finished the LAP management review in December, I also want to give you a recap of some of our activities this past year:
- Our staff, assessors and volunteers attended our four-day Annual Meeting that was held in Phoenix, Ariz., in May 2023. This meeting, which was the first in-person meeting held since 2019, was conducted just before AIHce EXP 2023 and allowed our volunteers and site assessors to join their colleagues at the conference, which featured a sampling and testing track. It also gave us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of retired Site Assessors Kathy Jones and Sandy Moore and honor other assessors and volunteers who have contributed to LAP over the past few years.
- After soliciting input from stakeholders, LAP issued policy changes that streamlined and, in some cases, clarified policies for our accredited labs. We were also pleased to have published our new Module 2G Beryllium Field/Mobile Accreditation Program, which will allow mobile units and field operations analyzing beryllium (outside of fixed-site labs) to be accredited.
- Along with other accreditation bodies in the United States, AIHA LAP co-hosted the 2023 Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) General Assembly and Technical Meetings in Anaheim, Calif., in June 2023. The meeting was a huge success and attracted some 150 people from the Asia Pacific and other regions.
- On World Accreditation Day, AIHA LAP Joined its counterparts from the United States, Canada, and Mexico to celebrate the launch of a new organization called the North American Accreditation Forum or NAAF. The mission of NAAF is to “promote confidence in accreditation in support of global free and fair trade.” In doing so, we are seeking to maintain our ability to accredit labs in other countries. AIHA LAP is not only one of the founding members of NAAF, but I am proud to serve on its Board of Directors. For more information, visit the NAAF website.
- With the hiring of our Digital Marketing Specialist last year, we were able to start a redesign of the AIHA LAP website. And for the first time in years, an LAP team attended and exhibited at Pittcon in Philadelphia, generating lots of interest in our programs. We also improved the overall engagement on LAP social media channels because of more posting and thus continued to impart information to our labs and stakeholders about value of AIHA LAP accreditation.
- Throughout 2023, significant upgrades were made to AIHA LAP’s data management system (DMS) to improve our laboratories’ experience when completing accreditation applications, submitting laboratory analysts, accessing LAP resources, and paying laboratory invoices virtually. Increased functionality has been added to the platform, which uses push notifications and multi-step instructional guides to assist laboratories and better communicate important information. In addition, the launch of our PT Submission System enables LAP to process PT report submissions in real-time, displaying results to the lab’s PT history after a quality review by staff. The improved submission system will create more transparency with labs as they continue to submit their PT reports as required in Policy Module 6 (6.5.2). LAP looks forward to continuing to improve our users’ experience with DMS in 2024.
- Our site assessors completely transitioned to full on-site assessments in 2023 after almost three years of remote and hybrid assessments. In 2023, we continued to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback on the performance of our assessors.
- AIHA LAP added new site assessors to its ranks and trained three additional site assessor candidates in Q4, all with industrial hygiene, lead and microbiology backgrounds, which will help us meet continued demand in the future. All assessor candidates expect to be qualified by the end of 2024.
- Our Analytical Accreditation Board commissioned the development of an online course to improve awareness among our volunteers, staff and assessors about impartiality and confidentiality. The ethics course includes relevant case studies that were discussed at the LAP Annual Meeting and will now be required for all LAP newcomers.
- Finally, we ended the year with steady laboratory enrollment despite the continued challenges that many of our labs experienced in 2022. While a handful of labs dropped their accreditation due to lack of business, we continued to see growth in our environmental microbiology program, and labs added new programs to their scopes. AIHA LAP also accredited its first mobile laboratory in the microbiology program.
As we look toward 2024, we are excited to commemorate 50 years of excellence in accreditation with information that we will post on social media all year and highlight during the 2024 LAP Annual Meeting at our offices in Falls Church, Va., this spring. We will honor accredited labs that have been accredited for 50 years and celebrate other accredited labs and volunteers who have been with us for this ride! We also look forward to:
- completing our research on sampling accreditation needs with the goal of setting up a standalone program by year end;
- launching a new outreach and education program that will help labs promote their accreditation on their websites and on social media;
- continuing to promote the accreditation of mobile labs as well as accreditation for food labs and unique scopes; and
- conducting an in-depth assessment of our training activities to upgrade training across the board and develop training programs for our accredited labs.
AIHA LAP continues to have a great appreciation of what we have been able to accomplish with our site assessors, volunteers and more importantly, our accredited laboratories. As we move into and begin to commemorate our 50th year, we look forward to always engaging our laboratories, volunteers, and stakeholders and continuing to serve the laboratory community with excellence.
Happy 2024 and Happy 50th Anniversary, AIHA LAP!
LAP Title Change and Promotions
Effective January 1, Cheryl Morton’s title is now AIHA LAP Executive Director to reflect her duties and level of responsibility more accurately. AIHA LAP is also pleased to announce that two of its tenured team members were promoted to new positions this year. Olena Bulgakova was promoted to Director, Accreditation while Anthony Hodge was promoted to Program Director, Business Development and Operations.
NEWS ABOUT SITE ASSESSORS AND VOLUNTEERS
Awards Presented at Annual Meeting
At its 2023 Annual Meeting held in May, AIHA LAP presented the following volunteers and assessors with awards for their outstanding contributions over the past three years:
- Evan Campbell Award for outstanding Site Assessor:
- Dixie Marlin
- Christine Kearney
- Keith Nicholson
- Harriotte Hurley award for outstanding AAB member:
- Lisa Beach
- Frank Ehrenfeld
- Allen Iske
- Michael Breu
- Newton Whitman award for outstanding TAP reviewer:
- Amin Maharaj
- Larry Pierce
- Michael Brisson
- Special International award for outstanding work:
- Marlene Camacho-Ochoa
Welcome New AIHA LAP Volunteers
AIHA LAP is proud to announce that Tianbao Bai and Robert Voorhies were recently appointed to the AAB with terms that start in March 2024. Reappointed to the AAB are Allen Iske, Bob Lieckfield, Marlene Camacho Ochoa, Lisa Beach, and Tracey Earle. The following persons were also reappointed and newly appointed to the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) with terms that begin in March.
- Beth Bair
- Michael Breu
- Sharon Danko
- Beidi He
- Bryan Mason
- Coray McBean
- David Espique
- Jessica Helland
- L. Claire McDonald
- Mary Wainwright
Thank you to the AAB and TAP Appointment Committee for helping to interview and make recommendations to the AAB for these appointments. We also thank the volunteers who are leaving—AAB Past Chair Michael Breu, AAB member Beth Bair, and TAP members Larry Pierce and Denise Mattingly—for their years of outstanding service.
AAB Leadership Change
Please note the AAB leadership changes that will go in effect March 1, 2024: Bharati Lakshmi will become the new AAB Chair and Daren Pearce its Past Chair while Tracy Earle will become the new AAB Vice Chair.
More Site Assessors Sought
AIHA LAP continues to look for new assessors, whether available part-time or full-time. As an AIHA LAP site assessor, you will have opportunities to visit laboratory sites all over the country and world, auditing them to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and AIHA policies. AIHA LAP will provide the training needed to understand our policies and get started. Training meetings are hosted yearly. If you would like more information and to inquire about the position, please contact Cheryl Morton.
NEWS FOR ACCREDITED LABS
Martin Harper Presentation on Wall Deposits
AIHA LAP encourages its labs (particularly industrial hygiene labs using certain NIOSH methods) to review a recently updated presentation from Martin Harper on wall deposits. Harper gave a presentation to the AIHA LAP enterprise at its Annual Meeting in May. AIHA LAP reminds its laboratories of the importance of considering wall deposits in their analyses. Laboratories are encouraged to log on to DMS to download the Harper presentation from their document Libraries. For more information about wall deposits, please contact Cheryl Morton.
Policy Change Suggestions
Historically, AIHA LAP has initiated an open solicitation period during which policy our accredited labs and stakeholders can submit suggestions for policy changes. These suggestions have then been reviewed by our Policy Task Force and ultimately deliberated by the AAB. Please note, however, that policy change suggestions can be submitted at any time, and they will be considered by the AAB. Click here to submit a suggestion and contact Olena Bulgakova for more information.
NEWLY ACCREDITED LABS in 2023
Congratulations to the following labs for becoming newly accredited by AIHA LAP or for having new AIHA LAP programs added to their scopes in the past year:
To review the full list of our newly accredited and reaccredited labs each month, please go to the AIHA LAP Directory.