Workplace Health and Safety

Brown conducts programs for up to 3,000 people annually
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The ILR School’s Workplace Health and Safety Program is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Now part of The Worker Institute, the program provides technical training and assistance for employers, employees, unions and individuals to help them address health and safety issues ranging from lead poisoning prevention to safely composting roadkill.

Nellie Brown, who has been working for the program for 30 years, teaches between 2,000 to 3,000 trainees per year – including immigrants, refugees and formerly incarcerated persons –across New York state.

Programs taught by Brown, a certified industrial hygienist, include:

  • health and safety issues involving regulatory compliance
  • worker rights and OSHA
  • public courses and workshops
  • on-site courses and workshops tailored to the hazards of specific workplaces
  • certification workshops
  • training and technical assistance services to help professionals use scientific and technical information to resolve problems.

The anniversary celebration will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 3 in ILR’s Buffalo office.

The formal part of the program begins at about 4 p.m. Featured speakers will be  Susan Woods of Henderson Woods LLC and Germain Harnden, executive director of the Western New York  Council for Occupational Safety and Health. The event will include highlights of the program’s history, major projects, publications and collaborations.

Brown has engaged in many collaborations across the university with units such as the Cornell Waste Management Institute, the Cornell Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Cornell Sprecher Cancer Institute.

Brown is a guest lecturer in ILR courses on the Ithaca Cornell campus and speaks at conferences in the U.S. and Canada.

Brown partners with employers, labor unions and organizations in New York state and across the U.S., including the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine-Western New York, the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health, the Center for Employment Opportunities, It Takes a Village Career Development Center, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the NY Water Environment Association, the American Water Works Association and the US Composting Council.

The Workplace Health and Safety Program’s online resources have broadened its reach. Its materials have been downloaded more than 160,000 times through DigitalCommons@ILR by users in 185 countries.

In 1986, the Workplace Health and Safety Program was sponsored by Lois Gray, then the ILR associate dean of extension.

The program was founded by Dr. James Platner, a toxicologist, Susan Woods, then a Cornell extension associate, and Michelle Kaplan, then director of ILR’s Rochester extension office.