NYCOSH Recognized for Efforts to Protect WTC Workers

The efforts of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) to protect workers at the World Trade Center cleanup site has earned that group recognition from the American Public Health Association (APHA).

APHA's Occupational Health Section will give NYCOSH its Lorin Kerr Award at the APHA's convention in Philadelphia on Nov. 12. According to the APHA, NYCOSH was chosen to receive the award for:

  • Being the first to contact OSHA regarding the lack of protections for rescue workers at the World Trade Center, leading to OSHA's more visible and aggressive involvement in getting contractors to improve protections for all workers at the site;
  • Effectively calling media attention to the concerns of immigrant workers at the site;
  • Facilitating meetings with unions, leading to a NIOSH [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] Health Hazard Evaluation for several locations around Ground Zero; and
  • Providing medical screenings and evaluations to the immigrant day laborers working in cleaning up dust and debris in buildings around the site.

The annual award, which "recognizes activists for their sustained, outstanding efforts and dedication to improving the lives of workers," is named for Lorin Kerr (1909 -1991), who was a life-long activist and served for over 40 years as a physician for the United Mine Workers. He was dedicated to preventing black lung disease and obtaining compensation for its victims and to improving all workers' access to healthcare.

"We are gratified that the Occupational Health Section of the APHA recognizes the outstanding work of NYCOSH's staff especially its contribution since the tragedy at the World Trade Center," commented William F. Henning Jr., chair of NYCOSH's board of directors. "NYCOSH's staff, under the most trying conditions, went beyond the call of duty to provide workers and community with information and training about the health and safety hazards resulting from the horrific collapse of the World Trade Center."

NYCOSH is a non-profit provider of occupational safety and health training, advocacy and information (including technical assistance and industrial hygiene consultation) to workers and unions throughout the New York metropolitan area, with a membership of more than 250 union organizations and 400 individuals, including union members, health and safety activists, injured workers, healthcare workers, attorneys, public health advocates, environmentalists and concerned citizens.

For more information about NYCOSH, visit the agency's Web site at www.nycosh.org.

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