People at ILR

Photo: Nellie Brown
people / faculty

Nellie Brown

Director of Workplace Health & Safety Programs
Lead Programs Manager
Labor and Unions


Nellie Brown is the Director of Workplace Health and Safety Programs for the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. A certified industrial hygienist, biologist and chemist, Nellie earned a master’s degree in a multidisciplinary program in natural sciences and applied science from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Ms. Brown is the Lead Training Manager for the Cornell’s USEPA-certified Lead Programs. Some of Nellie’s recent projects include: process failure analysis for anaerobic digesters used to produce biogas from dairy manure; developing the content for a database on the workplace tasks and exposures for chemicals currently believed to cause breast cancer; developing hazard reduction procedures for workers engaged in collecting and composting roadkill or in composting euthanized birds in the event of an outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza; and conducting job hazard analysis for veterinarians and veterinary technicians engaged in using antineoplastic drugs for the treatment of cancers in animals. Nellie serves on a Cornell Project Work Team for Managing Organic Residuals (formerly Composting and Land Application of Sewage Sludge). Nellie also provides industrial hygiene services for the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine – Western New York, a clinic funded by NYSDOH for diagnosis and treatment of occupational injuries and illnesses. For further information, see:

Nellie provides on-site training and technical assistance services in a wide range of occupational safety and health matters including workplace exposure to chemicals, biological agents, ergonomics, occupational stress, shift-work and long hours of work, crisis and violence prevention, hazard analysis techniques, and indoor air quality for employers, labor unions, and the public. Nellie was a speaker on workplace violence for a television special filmed by the BBC. She is the co-author of the article Thinking about the unthinkable: workplace crisis management in the June 2002 edition of Perspectives on Work. She is the author of Greener and Safer: some potential choices for interior materials for buildings undergoing construction or renovation, a green purchasing guide. She is the co-author (with Arthur Wheaton) of Safe Patient Handling Team Trainer and Participant Manual chapters on Team meeting skills for safe patient handling teams. Nellie is the author of the Indoor Environment of a Green and Healthy Home, a curriculum developed for the National Green and Healthy Homes Initiative of the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning.

She is the author of numerous occupational health hazard manuals and MSDS companion sheets, available through Cornell University and the NYS Department of Health. She has experience as a licensed wastewater treatment plant operator, and has been trained as a lead inspector, an HIV/AIDS test counselor, and in mold investigations and site assessments. She is listed by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation as a certified pesticide instructor for training on the core manual.

She is the recipient of a special recognition award from the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health for her outstanding achievements in safety and health education. From the New York Water Environment Association, Nellie has received the Charles Agar Memorial Service Award for her conference presentation on “Understanding workplace chemical exposure” and the Milton T. Hill Award for her outstanding contributions to the education and training of wastewater utility personnel. Nellie Brown and Nancy Lampen presented an innovative workshop on “Successful health and safety training using Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences” at the national conference of the American Society of Training and Development, New Orleans, June, 2002.

Nellie began her scientific career as a limnologist, conducting field sampling of lakes and reservoirs and performing biological and chemical analysis of fresh water. She worked as a chemist for a coke oven battery, performing chemical analysis of coal, coke, by-products, and wastewater. She was the chemist for a wastewater treatment plant, supervising lab technicians and conducting biological and chemical analysis of wastewater, process streams, biomass, and the receiving stream and managing the industrial pre-treatment program. Nellie is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the National Fire Protection Association, the American Society of Biological and Environmental Engineers (serving on the Technical Committee which developed ANSI/ASABE Standard S607), US Composting Council, the Water Environment Federation (and currently serves on the Safety Committee for the NY Water Environment Association), and the American Solar Energy Society. She is a past President of the Buffalo Chapter of the Association for Women in Science and is a past President of Zonta Club of Buffalo, a service organization dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide.

Nellie is also a harpist, performing for fundraisers and the occasional wedding. She is a member of the American Harp Society (and a founding member of the Western NY Chapter), the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen, and the Historical Harp Society.


Journal Articles


    • Nellie J Brown. 1994. Accommodating the Allergic Employee in the Workplace. Ithaca NY, United States: Program on Employment and Disability, Cornell University, 1994.

    Selected Works

    Selected Works is a service of BePress Publishing that helps readers follow a scholar's most current work. View Selected Works of Nellie Brown

    Professional Activities

    • Discussant. Presented to Worker Institute. Buffalo. 2018.
    • WNYCOSH Safe Patient Handling. Presented to WNYCOSH. Bronx Psychiatric Hospital. 2017.
    • Journeys End Conflict Resolution. Presented to WNYCOSH. Journeys End Buffalo NY. 2017.
    • WNYCOSH Train the Trainer. Presented to WNYCOSH. Cornell in Buffalo, NY. 2017.
    • Crisis Management. Presented to WNYCOSH. Buffalo Wire. 2017.


    Ives Hall Faculty Wing
    716-852-1444 x111

    Areas of Expertise

    Other Areas of Expertise

    Occupational Safety and Health, Workplace Health and Safety Analysis/Techniques, Workplace Exposure to Chemical and Biological Agents/Diseases, Indoor Air Quality, Ergonomics, Occupational Stress, OSHA Safety Standards, On-Site Training and Technical Assistance Services, Job Hazard Analysis, Process Failure Analysis, Vulnerability Analysis,