Patriot Coal agreed in 2012 to cease mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

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Awards Season Arrives

From the NECC fungal infection nightmare to a record payment to NHTSA for not reporting vehicle safety defects in a timely manner, there are more than enough items on 2012's Worst Actor list. Fortunately, Best Actor contenders are even more plentiful.

Emancipation, civil war, recovery, addiction, and global warming are just a few of the heavy themes explored in this year's Academy Awards Best Picture nominees and the acting performances nominated for the top awards. It made us wonder whose performance in 2012 on the EH&S stage deserved top honors, and likewise, whose performance merited the Worst Actor award for the year?

Looking back at the entirety of 2012, a number of positive and negative performances stood out in the world of safety and health. The following are examples of both; feel free to submit a comment naming your top vote-getter and why the nominee deserves the (dis)honor -- or use it to nominate your own best or worst performer of 2012.


Best Actor

  • OSHA/NIOSH/CPWR: In April 2012, they join forces to start a two-year educational campaign aimed at preventing construction falls
  • Indiana OSHA: The agency developed a report listing recommendations to help establishments prevent late-night retail robberies
  • NIOSH: Its sampling of workers' breathing zone exposures to silica during hydraulic fracturing operations opened the industry's eyes to a significant health concern
  • John C. Sheptor: Imperial Sugar CEO’s passionate keynote speech in June 2012 at the AIHce conference all but demanded that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard
  • American Heart Association: Its 2012 summer tour promoted "hands-only" CPR to boost bystander participation rates
  • U.S. commercial airlines: Zero commercial aviation fatalities occurred during 2012
  • Patriot Coal: The company agreed to cease mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development: In November 2012, it completed the first major step toward installing a new containment structure over the Chernobyl reactors
  • Art Garfunkel and friends: They offered $2 million in gold for a breakthrough to end blindness


Worst Actor

  • New England Compounding Center: Contaminated steroid medications made by President/Co-owner Barry Cadden and his company were linked to hundreds of cases of fungal meningitis and other infections
  • Carnival/Costa Cruises: The Costa Concordia ran aground off Giglio Jan. 13, 2012
  • Mosquitoes: 5,387 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus and 243 deaths nationwide were reported as of Dec. 11, 2012
  • BP: Settled criminal case stemming from the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, agreeing to pay $4 billion
  • Toyota: Agreed in December 2012 to pay a record $17.35 million to NHTSA for not timely reporting a vehicle safety defect


About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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