Howard: Labor Day Reinforces Worker Safety Mission

As Americans across the country gear up in preparation for Labor Day weekend, Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), offers a reminder that the holiday is a day to recognize the contributions made by U.S. workers.

Howard reinforced NIOSH's mission to protect workers, saying, "For those of us who serve in the field of occupational safety and health, honoring Labor Day brings an additional obligation. It calls on us to reaffirm our commitment to doing all that we can, every day of the year, to make workplaces free from hazards that can injure, sicken and kill."

Although Howard acknowledged that risks from occupational exposures to hazardous breathable dusts, toxic chemicals, heavy machinery, falls from heights, cumulative stresses and strains and infectious agents just to name a few have diminished in the past three decades, Howard noted that more work needs to be done. He alluded to the mining disasters in West Virginia earlier in the year and the current plight of emergency responders involved in the rescue and recovery process during the aftermath of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

"All of these responsibilities, from helping prevent fatalities underground to bolstering emergency preparedness, with many other duties in between, are tasks that NIOSH pursues every day with your partnership,' he said. "By reminding us that work has a human image, Labor Day reinforces our dedication to this mission."

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