The past year saw environmental health and safety moved to the front of the nation's — and the world's — consciousness. The Big Creek mine disaster, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform and subsequent environmental disaster and the death-defying rescue of the Chilean miners put occupational safety and health in the headlines more than many previous years combined.
Last year's list discussed the most influential EHS “leaders.” This year's list includes some folks who probably wouldn't be classified as EHS leaders, but they certainly had an influence on EHS. The list includes government appointees (such as OSHA Administrator David Michaels), academics, a couple of CEOs, union EHS leaders, future leaders, legislators, the presidents of professional associations, litigators, safety industry leaders and safety “gurus.”
David Weil is professor of economics and Everett W. Lord Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Boston University School of Management. He also serves as co-director (with Archon Fung and Mary Graham) of the Transparency Policy Project at the Ash Institute at Harvard Kennedy School. His research spans regulatory and labor market policy, industrial and labor relations, occupational safety and health, and transparency policy.
Dr. Thomas Krause is chairman of the board for BST, a consulting firm specializing in comprehensive safety solutions, Krause founded BST in 1979, and is a pioneer in the behavioral safety movement.
Dr. E. Scott Geller is a founding partner and co-owner of Safety Performance Solutions whose work focuses on cultivating an actively caring work culture in order to reduce and eliminate injuries. He is alumni distinguished professor at Virginia Tech and director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology.
Dr. Richard D. Fulwiler, CIH, CSHM, is president of Cincinnati-based Technology Leadership Associates, a consulting firm specializing in increasing individual effectiveness and building organizational capability in the health, safety and environmental arena. He previously spent 28 years working with Procter & Gamble, where he retired as the company's director of health and safety worldwide.
Terry Mathis, an internationally recognized expert in the application of safety culture and behavior-based safety strategies, founded ProAct Safety in 1993. Before founding ProAct, he was a director of training for Coca-Cola.
Frank White is senior vice president of ORC Worldwide, an international human resources firm. White practiced law prior to joining ORC, and also held several senior management positions in the U.S. Department of Labor, including the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
Kathy A. Seabrook, CSP, CMIOSH, is president of Global Solutions Inc., an SH&E management consultancy for multinational companies, and the newly elected senior vice president of the American Society of Safety Engineers.
THE GOVERNMENT APPOINTEES
David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, is an epidemiologist and a nationally recognized leader in the scientific community's efforts to protect the integrity of the science on which public health and environmental policies and regulation are based.
Dr. John Howard served as the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from July 2002 through July 2008, when his 6-year term ended without being renewed in a controversial decision that brought criticism from safety and health stakeholders. He was reappointed to the position of NIOSH director on Sept. 3, 2009.
Thomasina V. Rogers is chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which adjudicates workplace safety and health disputes between the Department of Labor and employers. Having been confirmed three times to the review commission, Rogers has served the second-longest tenure in the agency's 38-year history.
Lisa P. Jackson, confirmed by the Senate as the EPA administrator on Jan. 23, 2009, leads that agency's efforts to protect the health and environment of Americans.
Joseph A. (Joe) Main was nominated by President Obama as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health (MSHA) and confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 21, 2009. 2010 was a tough year for his agency, with the explosion and collapse of the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia that claimed the lives of 29 miners on April 5, 2010.
Hilda L. Solis was confirmed as Secretary of Labor on Feb. 24, 2009. Prior to confirmation as secretary, Solis represented the 32nd Congressional District in California, a position she held from 2001-2009.
Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, has had a busy year. The U.S. Department of Transportation launched distracted driver campaigns, expanded pipeline safety programs, conducted compliance sweeps and, finally, wiped egg off its face when reports surfaced of napping and movie-watching air traffic controllers.
Rafael Moure-Eraso, M.S., Ph.D., CIH, is chair of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). Prior to his appointment to CSB in 2010, Moure-Eraso served as a professor and graduate coordinator for the Department of Work Environment in the School of Health and Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he has been Chair of the department for the last 5 years. His agency had a busy year in 2010, managing investigations of a number of fatal incidents at chemical facilities around the country.
THE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENTS
Darryl C. Hill, Ph.D., CSP, is president of the American Society of Safety Engineers and vice president for safety and health, ABB North America, in Auburn Hills, Mich. He will be succeeded this month by ASSE President-elect Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, CPSI, who is a risk control manager for Bickmore Risk Services in Long Beach, Calif.
Elizabeth Pullen, CIH, is president-elect of AIHA and is the industrial hygiene manager for Clariant Corp. in Charlotte, N.C. Michael T. Brandt, DrPH, CIH, PMP, is president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and technical chief of staff for operations at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M.
Lisa M. Brosseau, ScD, CIH, serves as chair of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. She is an associate professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
T. Warner Hudson III, M.D., FAAFP, FACOEM, is the president of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). He is the medical director of the Occupational Health Facility for UCLA Los Angeles.
Kay Campbell, EdD, RN-C, COHN-S, FAAOHN, is president of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses and president of Healthy DireXions in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
Raymond Davis Layne joined the Voluntary Protection Program Participants Association in January 2005. As executive director, Layne is responsible for the guidance, direction and day-to-day activities of the VPPPA National Office staff.
LEADING EHS PROFESSIONALS
Joseph Van Houton, CSP, Ph.D., is worldwide environment, health and safety senior director for Johnson and Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J., continuing J&J's 125-year tradition of safety leadership. He recently appeared as a member of a panel of occupational health and safety experts recruited by the Center for American Progress in honor of OSHA's 40th birthday (along with two others on our list: David Michaels and Peg Seminario). J&J “has a systematic approach that looks to identify and control all health and safety risks,” said Van Houton. “It involves management. It involves employee participation. Together, we've come up with a system that yields extraordinary results.”
Mike Snyder is director of corporate safety, industrial hygiene and loss prevention at Dow Corning Corp., Midland, Mich.When asked about the safety success at Dow Corning, Snyder said, “We like to think that all 10,523 of our employees are safety professionals — as we invest both the skills and responsibilities in each of them to ensure the proper application of safety principles for every operation, every day.”
Fred Rippy is national safety director for Adolfson & Peterson Construction, Minneapolis, Minn. “The difference between a near-miss and a fatality is 1 second, so it is important to create a mindset amongst all employees that makes them intolerant of any potentially unsafe situation,” said Rippy.
Kevin Cox is corporate safety manager at Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, N.C., where employees are considered “their brother's keeper,” according to Cox.
“Our safety goal is zero injuries,” he said. “We are committed to safety excellence in everything we do. Our basic belief is that all incidents can and will be prevented.”
Edwin G. Foulke Jr., is a partner in the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips. He co-chairs the firm's Workplace Safety and Catastrophe Management Practice Group. Prior to joining Fisher & Phillips, Foulke was the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health and he chaired the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Washington, D.C.
Arthur G. Sapper is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the firm's Washington, D.C., office. He focuses his practice on all areas of occupational safety and health (OSHA) law and mine safety and health (MSHA) law, including inspections, litigation, rulemaking, counseling and lobbying.
Attorney Steve Yohay is shareholder in the Washington office of Ogletree Deakins. He represents major employers nationwide in federal and state OSHA inspections and citation contests.
Mark Dreux, a partner in Arent Fox's labor and employment practice, is a nationally recognized leader in occupational safety and health law, specializing in representing employers and trade associations in all aspects of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
THE UNION EHS LEADERS
Peg Seminario, director OHS, AFL-CIO, began working for the organization in 1977. The job of unions, said Seminario, is “to hold the administration's feet to the fire” when it comes to worker safety and health.
Scott Schneider, CIH, is division director of Occupational Health and Safety for the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America. Schneider is the 2010 winner of the William Steiger Memorial Award from the ACGIH, which honors individuals from the social/political sphere whose efforts have contributed to advancements in occupational safety and health.
Cecil E. Roberts is international president, United Mine Workers of America. Union presidents are not often found giving speeches at occupational safety health conferences, but Roberts took the stage as a keynote speaker at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo on May 25, 2010, little more than a month after the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Roberts recalled letters written by one young Big Branch miner to his mother and his fiancé, in which he speculated that he would die in the mine. “I've seen men write letters like that home from Vietnam, from W.W. II, from Korea, from Afghanistan,” said Roberts, “But you're not supposed to write letters like this when you're getting your lunch bucket and going to work. There's something inherently wrong with that.”
Mike Wright has held the position of director of health, safety and the environment for the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union — USW for short — since 1983. The union represents 850,000 workers.
Joel Shufro has been executive director, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) for most of its 31-year history. He also serves on numerous advisory boards, including at the Mt. Sinai-Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine; the Bellevue/NYU Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic; the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening and Treatment Program; and the NJ-NY Hazardous Waste Consortium.
Don Blankenship, who retired as chairman and CEO of Massey Energy Co. on Dec. 31, 2010, and the members of the Massey Energy board of directors (one of whom, Massey President Baxter Phillips, now is CEO) were placed in the spotlight on April 5, 2010, when 29 miners were killed in an explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch South Mine in Whitesville, W.Va. That spotlight revealed that from 2005 to the present: MSHA had issued a total of 1,342 safety violations for the mine, proposing $1.89 million in fines; the mine was shut down 48 times in 2009 for safety-related incidents; and a total of 23 miners were killed in Massey-owned mines in the 10 years before the Upper Big Branch explosion.
Former BP Chairman Tony Hayward — whose tenure ended in October 2010, largely as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers — earned his place on this list due to comments he made following the disaster. When asked about the victims of the disaster, Hayward told a reporter, “We're sorry for the massive disruption it's caused their lives. There's no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” The comments, which were seen as elitist, particularly were interesting given that Hayward had criticized former CEO Lord John Browne in the wake of the Texas City refinery blast that killed 15 workers, telling participants in a town hall meeting in Houston: “We have a leadership style that is too directive and doesn't listen sufficiently well. The top of the organization doesn't listen sufficiently to what the bottom is saying.”
Jason Townsell, named the Future Leader in EHS in 2010 by EHS TODAY magazine and PureSafety, recently earned a bachelor's of science in occupational health and safety from Columbia Southern University. He intends to earn a second bachelor's degree in fire science administration from Waldorf College in Fall 2011 before going on to pursue a master's degree. In addition to his coursework, Townsell works full time as an assistant safety manager/trainer for LA World Airports (LAWA) Airport Development Group. He blogs for EHS TODAY.
Beauregard Middaugh is a doctoral student pursuing a Ph.D. in occupational and environmental health at Purdue University and is a Future Leader in EHS runner up.
Tran Huynh is pursuing a Ph.D. in industrial hygiene from the University of Minnesota and is a Future Leader in EHS runner up. Read her blog posts at http://ehstoday.com.
THE MIRACLE MEN
The 33 Chilean Miners — Florencio Avalos Silva, Mario Sepulveda Espinace, Juan Illanes Palma, Carlos Mamani Solis, Renan Avalos Silva, Mario Gomez Heredia, Jimmy Sanchez Lagues, Ariel Ticona Yanez, Edison Pena Villarroel, Victor Zamora Bugueno, Raul Bustos Ibanez, Claudio Yanez Lagos, Victor Segovia Rojas, Jorge Galleguillos Orellana, Jose Henriquez Gonzalez, Samuel Avalos Acuna, Claudio Acuna Cortes, Franklin Lobos Ramirez, Osman Araya Araya, Yonni Barrios Rojas, Alex Vega Salazar, Richard Villarroel Godoy, Daniel Herrera Campos, Jose Ojeda Vidal, Luis Urzua Iribarren, Carlos Barrios Contreras, Omar Reygada Rojas, Juan Carlos Aguilar Gaete, Carlos Bugueno Alfaro, Pedro Cortes Contreras, Pablo Rojas Villacorta, Dario Segovia Rojo, Esteban Rojas Carrizo — who were rescued after 69 days of being trapped underground following a large cave-in at the San José copper-gold mine in the Atacama Desert north of Copiapó in northern Chile. They reaffirmed our belief in miracles and in friendship, reminding us that sometimes we are our brother's keeper.