November 1, 2011 Liz Borkowski, MPH 0Comment

One of my favorite parts of the American Public Health Association annual meeting is the Occupational Health & Safety Section’s awards lunch. It’s always inspiring to hear about and from the award recipients, who bring dedication, creativity, and much-needed stubbornness to the cause of ensuring safe and healthy workplaces. The 2011 honorees are:

  • Alice Hamilton Award: Martin Cherniack of the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW), author of the book The Hawk’s Nest Incident: America’s Worst Industrial Disaster
  • Lorin Kerr Awards: Lamont Byrd of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Amy K. Liebman of the Migrant Clinicians Network
  • Tony Mazzocchi Award: Barbarba Rahke of PhilPOSH (Philadelphia Area Committee on Occupational Safety and Health)
  • International H&S Award: Salvador Moncada i Lluís of Spain’s Union Institute of Work Environment and Health

Read Celeste’s earlier post about all the terrific work these honorees do.

After applauding the honorees, the next portion of the awards luncheon is always the much-anticipated skit and singing by the section’s spirited group of players.

This year’s skit imagined what it would be like if APHA members (with presidential encouragement) joined the Occupy DC protests instead of spending four days inside the Washington Convention Center. APHA would probably want to conduct health hazard evaluations of the occupational conditions, and be well hydrated. The villainous “Koch triplets” would attempt to buy off the organization – as well as various government agencies – in order to make the world better for the .001%. But the occupiers would be steadfast, emboldened by the ghosts of those who’d gone before in the struggle for workers’ rights.

As always, section member Luis Vazquez (aka Ergo Elvis) was one of the stars of the show, giving a rousing rendition of the song “Health and Safety Revolution.” He’s given me permission to post the lyrics here:

Health & Safety Revolution
Lyrics by Luis Vazquez
2011, All Rights Reserved
Sung to the tune of Revolution by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

A Health & Safety Revolution
Well you know
It happens when we collaborate
A Health & Safety Revolution
Well you know
If we act together, it’s not too late
So when you’re talkin’ about chemicals
You know the kind that can knock you out
You know it’s gonna be a fight
For our rights

An occupational solution
Yeah you know
We have power when we organize
To reduce corporate pollution
Yeah you know
Workers have to recognize
The power dynamics of class and race
Will poison us all unless we go face to face
And you know it’s gonna be a fight
For our rights

A Health & Safety Constitution
Well you know
Means job safety is our right
Confronting bosses’ retribution
Hell, you know
The workers’ ranks must hold tight
So if we want jobs to really be safe
Brothers and Sisters we must educate
And you know it’s gonna be a fight
For our rights

And, per tradition, the event closed with a sing-along of “This Land is Your Land.” Congratulations to all of the OHS Section Award Winners!

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