The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) has announced the winners of its 2018 Health and Safety awards, recognizing outstanding contributions towards empowering workers and the fight for safer workplaces and communities.
Recipients were selected based on a wide range of nominations from those involved in the national health and safety movement, including worker centers, unions, COSH groups and health and safety professionals. The awards will be presented on Wednesday evening, December 5th, as part of the National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (COSHCON18). The conference takes place December 4th through 6th at the Maritime Training Center just outside Baltimore.
“It’s a privilege to recognize these outstanding workers, health and professionals and family members who are making an enormous difference in our workplaces and communities,” said National COSH Co-Executive Director Marcy Goldstein-Gelb. “We know the vast majority of tens of thousands of workplace deaths and millions of workplace injuries that take place each year in the United States are preventable. But prevention doesn’t happen by itself. It takes a commitment to organizing, training, advocacy and empowering workers – and we’re excited to honor individuals who are doing this vital work.”
This year’s National COSH Health and Safety award winners include:
Mark Catlin, MDC Consulting
Tony Mazzocchi Award
Mark Catlin has excelled in providing policy advocacy, technical expertise and training assistance on occupational and environmental health and safety for all workers. He retired earlier this year as director of the Service Employees International Union. Health and Safety Department and currently manages MDC Consulting and Training. For nearly four decades, Mark’s work has impacted the areas of asbestos and lead paint abatement, hazardous waste site remediation and hazardous materials spill response. Mark is also well known for efforts to preserve and document historic health and safety videos, which he has compiled into a unique YouTube channel containing more than 1,100 environmental health and safety videos produced from 1912 to 2000.
Labor and Occupational Health Program, University of California, Berkeley
Health and Safety Trainer Award
Alejandra is dedicated to engaging workers and organizations on the issues of work and health and thinking strategically about how to build workers leadership and organizational power. With a diverse background in academic, advocacy and policy organizations, Alejandra is currently coordinator of public programs at the UC Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP). She has conducted groundbreaking research that resulted in recommendations for effective sexual harassment policies to protect service workers, and has been a true champion of Our Turn, the sexual harassment action network spearheaded by National COSH.
SEIU United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW)
Health and Safety Activist Award
Veronica is a janitorial worker, union leader, educator and mother of two who came to the United States from El Salvador and now lives in California. A member of SEIU-USWW, Veronica is a dynamic leader in the effort to bring the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse to the janitorial industry, so that all workers have access to a safe workplace. She helped lead the Ya Basta! campaign and participated in the hunger strike that led to passage of California’s Property Service Workers Protection Act in 2016. Veronica works as a promotora, or community health educator, training co-workers and fellow union members on how to recognize, prevent and eliminate gender-based violence in the workplace.
Cindy, Hal, Brian and Clayton Wynne
Family/Community Activist Award
Drew Wynne – Cindy and Hal’s son and Brian and Claytons’ brother – died October 2017 in North Charleston, South Carolina after exposure to a paint stripper containing the highly toxic chemical methylene chloride, which he purchased at a nearby Lowe’s. The Wynne family mourned this tragic and preventable death – and they organized. Joining with the Healthy Chemicals, Safer Family Coalition, Cindy, Hal, Brian and Clayton successfully convinced Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, Sherwin Williams and other companies to stop selling paint strippers and other products that contain toxic and potentially fatal ingredients. The Wynne family continues to call on other national chains to follow suit and to strongly encourage the EPA to issue an official ban of methylene chloride in order to save lives.
The annual Worker Safety and Health conference – the nation’s premiere gathering of grassroots safety activists -- brings together more than 300 people for three days of bilingual panels, workshops and speakers. COSHCON2018 will also include a product and service expo, poster sessions, and a career retrospective exhibit by renowned labor photographer Earl Dotter.
National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org. Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.