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Ethics. A view from the Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee. Welcome to Ethics. “The reputation of a thousand years is determined by the conduct of one hour.” – Japanese proverb. Who Got In Trouble: 2001.

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A view from the Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee


Welcome to Ethics

“The reputation of a thousand years is determined by the conduct of one hour.”

– Japanese proverb

who got in trouble 2001
Who Got In Trouble: 2001

Once America’s seventh largest company, Enron collapsed in 2001 – costing shareholders $74B and prompting Sarbane-Oxley Accounting Regulation. WorldCom-$11B. Tyco- $500M

somebody s got to pay 2010
Somebody’s Got To Pay 2010

“Too Big to Fail” Freddie MAC $187B, Leman $50B in TARP bailout prompting Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection.

key points
Key Points
  • Guiding principles versus Code of Ethics
  • How do Professionals use a Code?
  • A bit of history
  • Comparison of philosophy:

-- International Code of Ethics

-- Joint Ethics Principles

  • Does it apply only to CIH’s?
  • A word (or two) about ABIH enforcement
  • Scenarios for Consideration
objectives for today
Objectives for today...
  • Provide you with a greater awareness of the importance & benefits of ethical behavior in our profession
  • Encourage you to think through ethical dilemmas before acting and “drill down”
  • Increase your awareness of how your decisions impact others and the profession
  • Review some of the tools available to help guide you through the decision-making process


The embodiment of those values that the person or organization feels are important…, and spell our proper conduct and appropriate action.

- Merriam Webster

guiding principles v code of ethics
Guiding Principles v. Code of Ethics

“Stick to the CODE”

as noted by Capt. Hector Barbosa in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”

He then quickly said:

(when he felt necessary) that THE CODE was “actually more of a set of guidelines.”

how do professionals use a code
How do Professionals use a Code?

As “The Law?”

-- (Enforceable v. not enforceable?)

As a “set of guidelines?”

As a means to set a baseline standard of practice?

As a way to raise the level of practice?


IH Code of Ethics: History

  • 1968
  • AAIH Ethics Committee developed a “Code of Ethics for Professional Practice”.
  • 1973-74
  • Renewed interest in the Code by both AAIH and ABIH
  • 1975-77
  • AIHA becomes involved as does the AIHA Law Committee

IH Code of Ethics: History

  • 1978
  • AAIH Ethics draft “Code of Ethics for Professional Practice” mailed to membership for comment
  • 743 responses received (67% of all members), 712 (95.8% voted to accept), 31 (4.2% voted to reject)
  • 1981
  • AIHA and ACGIH adopts the code
  • 1991-94
  • AIHA, ACGIH, ABIH, and the “Academy” (AAIH) develop and adopt a joint code (6 Cannons).

IH Code of Ethics: History

  • 1991-94: Continued
  • New code presented at AIHce in 1994
  • 1995
  • AIHA, ACGIH, ABIH, and the “Academy “(AAIH) approved the creation of the Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee (JIHEEC)
  • Tasked with the education and promotion of the new code of ethics
  • Developed interpretive guidelines to supplement the new code of ethics

IH Code of Ethics: History

  • 2006-07
  • AIHA, ACGIH, ABIH, and AIH create a “Joint Ethics Task Force” to update the current code
  • Primarily driven by ABIH to create an enforceable mechanism specifically focused on CIHs
  • Two codes were created, on intended to be enforceable, one intended to be “aspiration,” known as the Member Ethical Principles (guiding principles).
current status
Current Status


-- Enforceable Code of Ethics – May 2007

-- Diplomats, Applicants & Examinees


-- Member Ethical Principles

jiheec mission
JIHEEC Mission
  • “Promote an awareness and understanding of the enforceable code of ethics published by the ABIH”
  • Not an enforcement group or resolution board
  • Publishes case studies of ethical dilemmas in the Synergist
jiheec membership
JIHEEC Membership

Members from AIH, AIHA, ACGIH, ABIH

Jeff Throckmorton, Chair

Pam Greenley,

Nick Rice, Past Chair

Glenn Barbi

Nancy McClellen

Bruce Lippy

Steven Rucker

Jan Wachter

Dan Maser

Michael Cooper

David Roskelley (ABIH liaison)

industrial hygienist role
Industrial Hygienist Role

Right vs. Wrong Issues

-- Legal Test

  • Are you breaking a law?

-- Stench Test

  • Does the action seem uncomfortable or “just wrong”?

-- Front-Page Test

  • Would you be embarrassed if the action were on the front page of the newspaper?

-- Mom Test

  • Would your mom (or other loved one) be ashamed of you?
right vs right ethical or moral dilemmas
Right vs. Right (Ethical or Moral Dilemmas)
  • Truth vs. Loyalty
  • Individual vs. Community
  • Short Term vs. Long Term
  • Justice vs. Mercy
is there a business case for ethics possibly
Is There a Business Case for Ethics?Possibly?
  • Capitalize on corporate interest to share customer values
  • Point to Government regulation as evidence of misalignment with public sentiment
  • Broaden the ethics conversation to include Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
the executive paradox
The Executive Paradox

Do high profits enable greater spending on CSR, or is it that CSR itself creates higher profits?

“…the direction of causation remains an open question. That is, good CSP could cause good CFP, but good CFP could provide slack resources to spend on CSP…whether profitable companies feel rich enough to splash out on CSR, or CSR [activity itself] brings profits.’”

meta analysis refers to the analysis of analyses coined by gene v glass
“Meta-analysis refers to the analysis of analyses" coined by Gene V. Glass

The study, “Corporate Social and Financial Performance: A Meta-Analysis” compiled by researchers Marc Orlitzky, Frank L. Schmidt and Sara L. Rynes

The meta-analytic findings suggest that corporate virtue in the form of social responsibility and, to a lesser extent, environmental responsibility, is likely to pay off…

business ethics the magazine of corporate responsibility
Business EthicsThe Magazine of Corporate Responsibility
  • Popular Stories
  • Nike: Corporate Responsibility at a “Tipping Point”
  • Does Corporate Social Responsibility Increase Profits?
  • The Ethics of Social Media—Part II: Playing by New Rules
  • Marketing to Children: Accepting Responsibility
  • American Apparel and the Ethics of a Sexually Charged Workplace
goals of the member ethical principles
Goals of the Member Ethical Principles
  • Complementary to the enforceable code
  • Educate members, the profession and public
  • Help all professionals understand their ethical responsibilities
  • Sets expectations
  • Standard for the Profession
abih code

Preamble/General Guidelines

The ABIH is dedicated to the implementation of appropriate professional standards designed to serve the public, employees, clients and the industrial hygiene profession. First and foremost, ABIH certificants and candidates give priority to health and safety interests related to the protection of people, and act in a manner that promotes integrity and reflects positively on the profession, consistent with accepted moral, ethical and legal standards.


As professionals in the field of industrial hygiene, ABIH certificants and candidates have the obligation to: maintain high standards of integrity and professional conduct; accept responsibility for their actions; continually seek to enhance their professional capabilities; practice with fairness and honesty; and, encourage others to act in a professional manner consistent with the certification standards and responsibilities set forth below.

i responsibilities to abih the profession and the public
I. Responsibilities to ABIH, the Profession and the Public
  • Comply with ABIH rules/policies
  • Comply with legal requirements
ii responsibilities to clients employers employees and the public
II. Responsibilities to Clients, Employers, Employees and the Public
  • Education, experience, competency and performance of professional services
  • Conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety
  • Public health and safety
goals of the member ethical principles aiha aih acgih
Goals of the Member Ethical Principles:AIHA, AIH, ACGIH
  • Complementary to the enforceable code
  • Educate members, the profession and public
  • Help all professionals understand their ethical responsibilities
  • Sets expectations
  • Standard for the Profession
aiha members have the obligation to
AIHA members have the obligation to:

Maintain high standards of integrity and professional conduct

Follow recognized sound scientific principles

Accept responsibility for their actions

Continually seek to enhance their professional capabilities

Practice with fairness and honesty

Encourage others to act in a professional manner

some details of the member ethical principles
Some details of the Member Ethical Principles

3 pages

-- 2 main sections and several subheadings

-- 23 “should” statements

Some sections do not appear in the ABIH enforceable code. For example:

II.A.9. “Refrain from business activities and practices that unlawfully restrict competition.”

II.C.2. “Inform appropriate management representative and/or governmental bodies of violations of legal and regulatory requirements when obligated or otherwise clearly appropriate.”

II.C.3. “Make reasonable efforts to ensure that the results of industrial hygiene assessments are communicated to exposed populations.”

some details of the abih code
Some details of the ABIH Code

2 pages

-- 2 main sections and several subheadings

-- 19 (implied shall) statements

Although the key concepts are the same, the code is less “encompassing” than that found in the Member Ethical Principles.

international code of ethics for occupational health professionals
International Code of Ethics for Occupational Health Professionals

Established by the International Commission on Occupational Health,

-- founded in 1906.

-- 2,000 professionals in 93 countries.

18 pages

-- includes explanatory language.

-- 26 “shall” statements.

Not an enforcement based code.

Could be considered as more “worker oriented” in its phrasing and considerations.

Found at:

other types of considerations
“Other” Types of Considerations

“Occupational health professionals must request that a clause on ethics be incorporated in their contract of employment.”

“…occupational health professionals must regularly and routinely, whenever possible, visit the workplaces and consult the workers and the management of the work that is performed.”


Ethical Habits

“A long habit of not thinking a thing

wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right.”

–Thomas Paine

retired status
Retired Status
  • What happened to the CIH (Ret) option?

-- ABIH discontinued the classification of CIH (Ret) in 2011 when the Voluntary surrender* program was launched. All former CIH (Ret) were converted to voluntary surrenders.

-- The term CIH (Ret) or any of its various forms can no longer be used. Former Diplomates are allowed to refer to their certification designation when showing the years of active certification, e.g. John Smyth, CIH, 1987-2006.

-- Some former Diplomates are still listed in the ABIH roster unless they chose to opt out.


  • By Voluntary Surrender

-- Before your cycle ends: Submitting a written request and Paying the annual fees

-- Less than 5 months after your cycle ends: Submitting an acceptable worksheet for the previous CM cycle and Paying the current annual fees  and late CM worksheet fee (if due)

-- > 5 months after your cycle ends: Submitting an acceptable worksheet for the previous 60 months and Paying the current annual fee, and a CM worksheet processing fee.

march 1993 aiha journal

March 1993 AIHA Journal

“Ethical Issues for Industrial Hygienists: Survey Results and Suggestions”

Laura A. Goldberg & Michael R. Greenberg

type of ethical misconduct observed 1994
Type of Ethical Misconduct Observed – 1994*
  • Deliberate overstatement of positive and

understatement of negative results 36%

  • Refraining from reporting an incident 30%
  • Failure to share credit on a publication 26%
  • Deliberate failure to acknowledge data

limitations 26%

  • Holding back findings to avoid negative results 26%
  • Plagiarism 23%
  • Borrowing from another’s proposal 21%
  • Deliberate failure to control data quality 21%
  • Failure to protect confidential data 20%
  • Release of results of study before peer review 19%

*Ethical Issues for Industrial Hygienists: Survey Results and Suggestions, Goldberg, L.A., Greenburg, M.R., AIHA Journal, (54) March 1993, 127-134

type of ethical misconduct observed great britain 2002
Type of Ethical Misconduct Observed – Great Britain 2002*
  • Plagiarism 51%
  • Failure to protect confidential data 37%
  • Failure to share credit on a report/publication 27%
  • Fabrication of data 25%
  • Criticize the ability or integrity of another

hygienist for own gain 23%

  • Holding back or disguising data 19%
  • Survey design to favor a specific outcome 11%
  • Destruction of data that contradicts desired outcome 7%
  • Deliberately not reporting an incident 7%

*Observations of Ethical Misconduct Among Industrial Hygienists in England, Burgess, G.L.,Mullen, D.,AIHA Journal (63) March/April 2002, 151-154

causes of ethical dilemmas who responded extremely important
Causes of Ethical Dilemmas(% who responded extremely important)
  • On the job pressure (too many responsibilities) (56%)
  • Pressure caused by economic implications of result
  • Lack of experience
  • Pressure caused by professional implications of result
  • Poor design of study
  • Friendship in regard to “whistle blowing” (40%)
  • Competition with peers
  • Lack of training in ethics (35.6%)
  • Poor implementation of design
  • Lack of communication skills
  • Pressures not related to job (15.2%)
some of the major ethical issues in healthcare environmental science
Some of the Major Ethical Issues in Healthcare & Environmental Science

Multi-National Companies

Health and Safety Standards in the Supply-Chain

Lack of Labor Laws within producing Countries


No enforcement


  • Provide life support even when it is futile
  • Provide placebos simply because your patient wanted treatment
  • Hide terminal diagnosis from your patient to bolster their spirit
  • Dropping insurers that don’t pay well
ethics case procedures
Ethics Case Procedures
  • Review by Executive Director and/or 5 member Ethics Review Committee (ERC) to accept/reject
  • Appeals
    • ERC
    • Board Appeals Committee – 3 Directors
disciplinary actions
Disciplinary Actions
  • Ineligible for certification/recertification
  • Corrective actions
  • Private reprimand and censure
  • Public reprimand and censure
  • Probation including conditions on conduct
  • Suspension of certification
  • Revocation

“The single largest problem in ethics is the inability to recognize ethical issues”Rushworth M. Kidder, EthicistAssociation Management – October 1999

the abih experience
The ABIH Experience
  • Most Inquiries allege unethical conduct by IH consultants
  • Source of Inquiries






complaint issues
Complaint Issues
  • Misrepresentation of attendance at a course carrying CM points
  • Evaluation of workplace/residence




  • Felony convictions (IH & not IH related)
  • Misrepresentation in published articles
complainant s information sources
Complainant's Information Sources
  • Internet
  • Published Guidelines/Best Practices
  • Media reports/articles
case history to date
Case History To Date

27 Formal Complaints

  • 1 Mediation
  • 15 Rejected
  • 11 Accepted (2 Initiated by ED both were Felony cases – both sanctioned)
      • 1 Discontinued
      • 1 No Ethical Violation
      • 3 Legal Agreement
      • 5 Sanctioned
      • 1 under review
how to avoid ethical pitfalls
How To Avoid Ethical Pitfalls

“In the beginning…………….

Before you take a new job

Before you sign a contract

Before you agree to a course of action

No single right answer…


sources and further reading
Sources and Further Reading
  • How Good People Make Tough Choices,Rushworth M. Kidder,1995
  • Business Ethics, Richard De George
  • “Ethical Issues for Industrial Hygienists: Survey Results and Suggestions”, Laura A. Goldberg & Michael R. Greenberg, March 1993 AIHA Journal
  • “Observations of Ethical Misconduct Among Industrial Hygienists in England”, Burgess G. L., Mullen, D., AIHA Journal (63) March/April 2002
  • ABIH Executive Director, Lynn O’Donnell, 2011 Data
scenario 1
Scenario #1

You are bound by a contract to protect the confidentiality of the project for which you are hired. Because of the complexity of the IH issues, you wish to obtain input from a professional peer regarding the technical aspects of the project.

do you
Do You:

A. Ignore your desire to obtain input from a professional peer because it could be considered an ethical breach of your clients confidentiality.

B. Discuss the project without disclosing confidential details such as the name of the company, individual names, proprietary or other.

C. Discuss in full disclosure with a professional peer who is unrelated to the project and lives thousands of miles away.

D. Consider publishing your quandaries in the next edition of the Synergist.

scenario 2
Scenario #2

You witness what you feel is a clear violation of the code by one of your professional peers who is a CIH.

do you1
Do You:

A. Contact anyone you can think of along with ABIH, and/or AIHA and report the incident.

B. Submit a written allegation of a breach of ethical duty or professional responsibility to the chair of the JIHEEC.

C. Call the AIHA President to personally complain.

D. Explain to the peer that you feel they are acting unethically and give them an opportunity to correct the situation before taking further action. If it remains unresolved then you could submit a written allegation of a breach of ethical duty or professional responsibility to ABIH.

scenario 3
Scenario #3

You are invited by a vendor who provides a majority of your industrial hygiene laboratory services to play golf and have dinner at an “exclusive” country club.

do you2
Do You:

A. Accept the offer and ask if he wouldn’t mind throwing in a sleeve of balls and a hat.

B. Investigate your company’s policy on accepting vendor gifts and determine the best course of action with your supervisor.

C. Decide to accept the offer, but only if you can pay for your own green fees and dinner.

D. Accept the invitation but insist that the bill be paid in cash instead of a credit card to avoid leaving a “paper trail”.

scenario 4
Scenario #4

As an IH at a chemical manufacturing plant, you are faced with having to perform air sampling for an intermediate chemical for which there is no standard sampling method.

do you3
Do You:

A. Search for a sampling method that is statistically significant, peer-reviewed and recognized by the profession.

B. Use a non peer-reviewed sampling method that was developed by the plant lab assistant named Vinnie.

C. Use a standard sampling method developed for another intermediate chemical produced at your plant.

D. Contact an outside industrial hygiene laboratory for advice and direction.

Source: Joint Industrial Hygiene Ethics Education Committee (JIHEEC) Presentation Files

scenario 5
Scenario #5

As an IH consultant you are asked by a major insurance carrier to sample for mold in a residential setting. One of the home’s occupants is recovering from cancer and recently had a bone marrow transplant. Moderate to extensive visible mold is present throughout the home and you recommend relocating the family. The insurance carrier disagrees and asks you “to keep your mouth shut” or they will take legal action.

do you4
Do You:

A. Wonder why you chose to be a consultant and run out of the building screaming.

B. Keep your mouth shut and pretend it never happened.

C. Ignore the insurance carriers threats and immediately notify the occupants to vacate the premises.

D. Contact a close friend, attorney and/or mentor and ask for additional advice and direction.

scenario 6
Scenario #6

You are drinking at a professional conference with a close IH colleague. In an inebriated state he feels the need to unburden years of guilt upon you. He mentions that he completely falsified his ABIH CM worksheet back in 1998. It had slipped through the cracks without an audit. In fact, he was working in another field unrelated to IH from 1994-1999. You always wondered how he had managed to maintain his CIH status and now you knew……

do you5
Do You:

A. Keep on drinking and pray you can’t remember the conversation in the morning .

B. Contact ABIH and/or AIHA and report the incident.

C. Run screaming from the bar and wonder why you have friends like this.

D. After sobering-up, explain to your friend that you feel what they have done is wrong and give them an opportunity to correct the situation before taking further action. If it remains unresolved then you could submit a written allegation of a breach of ethical duty or professional responsibility to ABIH.

scenario 7
Scenario # 7
  • The Industrial Hygienist himself is ethical and complies with the professional code of ethics but his company is engaged in some questionable business practices. These include kickbacks, accepting gratuities from suppliers, and exaggerating EHS accomplishments in their annual SEC filing.
  • What should the hygienist do?
additional scenarios for consideration
Additional Scenarios for Consideration
  • Please see attached handouts
thank you

Thank you!

Please contact the JIHEEC if we can be of assistance!