Dr. James Reason is Professor of Psychology, University of Manchester (UK). For more than 25 years, his principal research area has been human error and the way people and organizational processes contribute to the breakdown of complex, well-defended technologies such as commercial aviation, nuclear power generation, process plants, railways, marine operations, financial services, and healthcare institutions. His error classification and models of system breakdown are widely used by accident investigators. Dr. Reason and Dante Orlandella first proposed the Swiss cheese model of accident causation that illustrates that although many layers of defense lie between hazards and accidents, there are flaws in each layer that, if aligned, can allow the accident to occur.
The first head of EPA in 1970, Ruckelshaus laid the foundation for the agency by hiring its leaders, defining its mission, deciding priorities and selecting an organizational structure. He overruled a judge and banned the pesticide DDT, calling it “a potential human carcinogen.” Ruckleshaus returned to lead EPA in 198 85 with the agency in crisis due to mass resignations over the mishandling of the Superfund project. Ruckelshaus’s record of success at EPA and his reputation for integrity led to his being appointed Acting Director of the FBI in 1973 amid the growing Watergate scandal.
Creator of the “Risk = Hazard + Outrage” formula for risk communication, Dr. Sandman is one of the most prominent risk communication experts in the world. Dr. Sandman is multi-faceted: He works with companies and governments ensnared in public controversies that threaten reputations, from oil spills to labor-management battles. He helps activists arouse concerns about serious hazards and helps companies persuade employees to take safety rules seriously. Dr. Sandman also specializes in crisis communication – terrorist attacks and epidemics, etc. – where hazard and outrage are both high and the public must bear emotional burdens. “Dr. Calm” has written more than 80 articles and numerous books.
Scannell served as OSHA chief from 1989 to 1992, after an earlier stint at the agency during its infancy from 1971 - 1979. Perhaps the most ambitious OSHA boss. Under Scannell’s watch the agency issued its bloodborne pathogens standard and a proposed rule on motor vehicle safety (mandating use of seat belts) as well as pushing for an indoor air quality standard that would have banned workplace smoking, and the need to update hundreds of permissible exposure limits. He called ergonomics “one of the major issues of the 1990s.” Before becoming OSHA chief, Scannell was head of worldwide safety affairs for Johnson & Johnson. After leaving OSHA, he became President and CEO of the National Safety Council.
Dr. Irving J. Selikoff
Dr. Selikoff more than any one individual was responsible for attracting attention to the occupational health threat posed by asbestos. His research in the 1960s established a link between inhalation of asbestos particles and lung-related ailments. His work set off an explosion of toxic tort lawsuits and is lawsuits and is largely responsible for the regulation of asbestos today.
Seminario, director of safety and health for the AFL-CIO, where she has worked since 1977, has been a fixture in
Washington occupational safety and health battles (both public and behind the scenes) going back to the 1980s, when she vigorously opposed Reagan-era efforts to deregulate OSHA. In the 1990s she led a coalition of more than 20 unions to push for tougher OSHA laws.
She coordinated labor’s campaigns on right-to-know and ergonomics, and was one of the leaders in labor’s efforts to enact the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to provide healthcare and compensation to responders sick from exposures at the World Trade Center. Ms. Seminario is the AFL-CIO’s lead organizer of Workers Memorial Day, observed annually on April 28.
Robert Soule, Ed.D., P.E, CSP, CIH
Recognized for helping thousands of students enter the safety profession as the past chair of the Safety Sciences Department at the University of Indiana (PA). Among his many roles, Soule was ASSE Editorial Review Board Chair.
Co-author of the Williams-Steiger Bill establishing OSHA in 1970 while serving as a Republican congressman from Wisconsin (1967-1978). He also authored the Clear Lakes Bill establishing environmental protection for the Great Lakes. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) annually hands out the William Steiger Memorial Award, which honors individuals from the social/political sphere whose efforts have contributed to advancements in occupational safety and health.
For more than 20 years, White was the leader of ORC-Mercer-ORCHSE Strategies occupational health and environmental services, until he retired in 2015. White worked as associate solicitor for OSHA and later as deputy assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. He was also named the first director of standards and regulations for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. But for decades he was best known in Washington circles and among corporate EHS execs as a deft diplomat in safety and health political debates and as an eloquent and savvy advocate, in public and behind the scenes, for a wide range of safety and health policy issues.
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