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In Memoriam: James Hodgson, Former Secretary of Labor

Dec. 11, 2012
The former Secretary of Labor James Hodgson, who oversaw the landmark passing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and led the Emergency Employment Act of 1971, died on Nov. 28. He was 96 years old.
James Hodgson served as the Secretary of Labor under President Richard Nixon from July 2, 1970, to Feb. 1, 1973. Under his leadership at the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which changed the landscape of occupational safety in the United States, was passed.

Hodgson also served as vice president for industrial relations at Lockheed Corp. “Safety was extremely important in aircraft plants,” he once said, “but as I went around looking at other industries, I was just appalled at the conditions I saw.”

In response to the news of Hodgson’s death, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued a statement:

“James Hodgson once said: ‘I've never had any ambitions; only enthusiasms.’ He was being modest, of course, since one of his ‘enthusiasms’ was worker health and safety. And as the nation’s 12th secretary of labor, he leaves an extraordinary legacy in this area,” Solis said.

“Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration – the agency he envisioned and built – employs more than 2,200 people and strives to keep nearly 8 million U.S. workplaces safe and healthy through setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”

According to The Malibu Times, Hodgson passed away at his Malibu home due to complications from hip surgery.

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