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AIHce2017 > AIHceEXPDigest > Posts > Session Spotlight: IH and Safety in Ukraine
Session Spotlight: IH and Safety in Ukraine


As IH/OH professionals, we are responsible for the safety, health, and environment of today’s workspace – around the world. At AIHce, our sessions won’t just be focusing on the issues in the U.S., but globally, which is why we’re excited to feature Andrey Korchevskiy and his session.

Korchevskiy was born and grew up in the former Soviet Union, in the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan. After earning his PhD in Mathematics in Kazakhstan and his doctorate in Biology in Moscow, Korchevskiy moved to the U.S. in 2009 to receive his CIH designation. Over the course of the past few years, he’s kept an active connection to the diverse and complex environment of Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia. In 2016, Korchevskiy has a chance to participate in an international training program for nanotoxicology, presenting a few lectures in Kazan Medical University in Russia. His most recent trip was to Ukraine to discuss potential collaboration between American and Ukrainian scientists.

We talked to Korchevskiy about his session at AIHce and the importance of communication between IH/OH professionals across borders.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about the IH industry in Ukraine?

Not many people in the U.S. actually know a lot about Ukraine. It is a large country, with a well-developed industry and agriculture. Industrial hygiene regulations were implemented under the Soviet Union, similar to what we can observe in other former Soviet Republics. Ukraine currently trends toward Western experience and standards, though it is not always clear how it should be technically implemented.

For example, we expect that asbestos will finally be banned in Ukraine very soon. However, you can imagine that most of the roofing materials in Ukraine, especially in rural areas, contain asbestos. It is not enough to ban asbestos. You need to have a special program to protect the population and workers, you have to learn how to deal with all existing asbestos-containing products, as well as with naturally-occurring asbestos. It seems that we can just use Western experience in post-Soviet countries, but in many situations your solutions should be different.     

What are the most persistent problems? 

In an agricultural country, you should remember about pesticide risks and agricultural dusts that still pose significant respiratory hazards. Ukraine is famous for its welding proficiency. Recently, we heard that Ukrainian welders participated in the building of new branch of the Panama Canal. So, it is important to address the problem of welding fumes, especially when new methods of welding are being developed. We also should remember the Chernobyl catastrophe; not only that it happened in Ukraine, but many Ukrainian professionals took part in the recovery operations and received doses of radiation.

Why is it important for us to have better communication between the U.S. and Ukraine in the IH field moving forward?

Ukraine is an important example for establishing international relationships between AIHA and colleagues in other countries. AIHA has a significant potential in this collaboration, between American professionals who are highly valued in Ukraine. Ukraine wants to be a part of the international community. Recently, European Union established a visa-free travel regime with Ukraine. At the same time, we have a lot of things to learn from Ukrainian counterparts. I already mentioned welding fumes issues. However, Ukrainian IHs also pioneered some of the nanotoxicological works in the region. With open borders, not only problems become globalized, but solutions can also be international. We can create a better global future for all regions and countries.

You created a survey for your AIHce session. Can you tell us a little bit about the survey? 

This year we will be trying something new in how we present the Ukrainian story for AIHce in Seattle. The session is called “Industrial Hygiene and Safety in Ukraine: Focus of the Collaboration.” Preparing for this session, we distributed a special survey about current IH problems and collaborative ideas; around 25 industrial hygienists in Ukraine responded to our short questionnaire. During the session, we will ask our audience to respond to the same questions. We will use PowerCom devices, special instant polling equipment, in order to compare the results in real time. We will be creating a “mental” communication between two audiences, two countries, separated by thousands of miles. I am sure that we will see some differences but certainly we expect many similarities. 

I would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Alexandra Demestka from Kiev who helped us prepare for this session and conduct the survey. We will certainly invite Ukrainian friends to visit us next year for AIHce 2018. We will also start developing proposals for a special IH workshop or conference in Kiev, a beautiful city on the banks of the Dnipro River.     

Who should attend your session at AIHce in June?

We expect all people interested in international collaboration. Our session will be short (just one hour), but we want to start some kind of a movement for industrial hygienists to learn more about Eastern Europe, to participate in discussions and projects, to find like-minded people there, to travel, to teach, to learn. It should be fun, and we can really bring value and improve health and safety conditions not only in Ukraine, but in Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, beautiful countries that would be fascinating to travel to.  

We’re definitely looking forward to the session, Andrey! If you’re interested in attending this incredible session at AIHce, you can find the full details here.


AIHce 2017 EXP, held in Seattle, Washington June 4-7, is the EXPerience of the year for IH and OEHS professionals across the country. You’ll be exposed to the latest trends, needs, and research impacting worker health with experiential education sessions, networking opportunities with like-minded professionals, and the tools you need to solve your workplace challenges. This highly-rated event also offers a robust virtual experience for those that want to reap the benefits of conference without the travel. To learn more, visit AIHce2017.org.

Berrak Sarikaya is a brand amplifier based out of Seattle, WA. Follow her on Twitter.

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