The American Society of Safety Engineers this week congratulated reporter Alexandra Berzon and the Las Vegas Sun for not only winning the prestigious Pulitzer Prize award for public service reporting but for raising awareness of the importance of workplace safety.

In his congratulatory letter sent to Berzon April 20, ASSE President Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM, CSHM, noted, “A workplace fatality is not just a number, but a person with family, friends, and co-workers, as your Las Vegas Sun stories illustrated. Your continued excellent research and reporting on the issue of workplace fatalities and injuries, especially in the construction field, in Las Vegas have had a positive effect on the city and the state, especially for workers and their families, when it comes to enhancing safety.”

Brown went on to note, “By raising awareness of the issues at hand and educating your audience on the positive effects of developing and implementing comprehensive occupational safety and health programs and realizing the value of the safety professional, the Las Vegas Sun series has made a difference and we congratulate you.”

This honor not only awards the reporter and the newspaper but illustrates the importance and the major interest in work safety worldwide, according to ASSE. Repeat Pulitzer Prize winner New York Times reporter David Barstow (2009 for investigative reporting) also won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2004 with Lowell Bergman for a series on worker safety issues in the U.S. and Canada.

The Pulitzer Prize judges gave the Public Service award to “the Las Vegas Sun, and notably the courageous reporting by Alexandra Berzon, for the exposure of the high death rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip amid lax enforcement of regulations, leading to changes in policy and improved safety conditions.”

The Pulitzer Prizes are sponsored by the Columbia School of Journalism in New York City.