The Rana Plaza building partial collapse occurred in April 2013.

Workforce Sustainability Forum Highlights NAOSH Week

The May 7 event in Washington, D.C., titled "The Human Cost of Cheap Labor," includes the presentation of ASSE's 2014 Triangle Award and a keynote address by Jordan Barab, OSHA's deputy assistant secretary.

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week--NAOSH Week—is taking place May 4-10 this year, and a highlight of the week is a May 7 presentation in Washington, D.C., with participation from leaders of the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, and the Interdisciplinary Association of Occupational Health and Hygiene of Mexico, Civil Association (AISOHMEX). Titled "The Human Cost of Cheap Labor," this half-day program includes the presentation of ASSE's 2014 Triangle Award to Stefan Bright, safety director for the International Window Cleaning Association, and a keynote address by Jordan Barab, OSHA's deputy assistant secretary.

The event will open with remarks by ASSE President Kathy Seabrook, CSSE President Peter Sturm, and AISOHMEX President Victoriano Anguis. Seabrook is speaking later on "The Worldwide Workforce: An Informed, Global Perspective on Occupational Safety & Health Sustainability." Other speakers include Robert Eccles, a Harvard University professor of management practices; Tom Cecich, chair of the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (a collaborative effort of AIHA, ASSE and IOSH that was created in 2010); Jay Harf, assistant vice president EH&S Americas for L'Oreal USA Inc; Michael Vaudreuil, director of consulting and training for Verite (an Amherst, Mass.-based organization that works to ensure globalization works for poor and vulnerable people around the world); and Garrett Brown, MPH, CIH, coordinator of the Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network.

Bright is receiving the Triangle Award for his work to increase safety in the window cleaning industry. Seeing injuries and deaths from falls increase, he responded by developing a field manual in 1992 that illustrated best practices. "I've been at this a long time," he said. "I was one of the guys hanging off the side of a building. We were forced to figure it out. Every time I give a training session, someone says how much it’s helped. It does make me feel good."

The presentation comes a little more than a year after a grim reminder of workers' vulnerability in Bangladesh's garment industry--the April 24, 2013, partial collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza building. More than 1,120 people died.

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