People at ILR

Photo: Nellie Brown
people / faculty

Nellie Brown

Director of Workplace Health & Safety Programs
Lead Programs Manager
EXT-Buffalo Co-Lab


Nellie Brown is the Director of Workplace Health and Safety Programs for both the Outreach Division statewide and for the Buffalo Co-Lab of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. A certified industrial hygienist (Board for Global EHS Credentialing, Diplomate of the American Board of Industrial Hygiene), 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: developing training on cytomegalovirus (a cause of birth defects) for childcare workers; 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 (to address chronic wasting disease) 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 virtual and on-site training and technical assistance on a wide range of occupational safety and health hazards including chemicals, biological agents (including COVID-19), 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. She teaches a virtual credit course on occupational safety and health. Nellie is frequently interviewed by the media (including CNN) and was a speaker on workplace violence for a BBC television special. She is the author of numerous occupational health hazard manuals, training programs, and articles; her publications on Cornell University’s DigitalCollections@ILR e-Library have been downloaded over 276,000 times in over 180 countries. 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 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 Ernest R. Carroll Award for significant contributions in the field of safety, 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.

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. 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 Product Stewardship Society, the National Fire Protection Association, the American Society of Biological and Environmental Engineers (serving on the Technical Committee which developed ANSI/ASABE Standard S607), Product Stewardship Society, US Composting Council, the Water Environment Federation (and currently serves on the Safety Committee for the NY Water Environment Association), the Nature Conservancy, 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 and Vice-President of the Western NY Chapter), the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen, and the Historical Harp Society.


Journal Articles

  • Nellie J Brown. 2021. Crisis: Management and Recovery, Clear Waters . 51(2):page 9.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2017. Communicable diseases and the workplace, Steward Update . 28(5):1.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2016. Guarding against workplace violence, Steward Update . 27(5):3.
  • Craig Coker, Nellie J Brown. . Health and safety planning in anaerobic digestion, BioCycle .
  • Nellie J Brown. 2015. Composting equipment hazards, Portable Plants & Equipment Magazine . 11(3):20 - 21.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2014. Shiftwork and long hours of work, Steward Update . 25(5):1.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2014. Work safely around manure gases, Dairy Business East . 6(8):23-27.
  • Nellie J Brown, Curt Andrews Gooch, Karl J Czymmek. 2014. Respiratory protection during potential hydrogen sulfide gas exposure, Dairy Business East . 6(5):31.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2014. Protecting your co-workers from ergonomic injuries, Steward Update . 25(3):1.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2012. Worker protection at composting sites, BioCycle Journal . 53(1):47-51.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2011. Shift work and working long hours: risks and risk reduction, Clear Waters Journal . 41(4):23-28.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2011. Manure pits, lagoons, and digesters as confined space hazards – often recovery, rather than rescue, situations for firefighters, FireWork . (March):2.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2011. Manure pits, lagoons, and digesters as confined space hazards – often recovery, rather than rescue, situations for firefighters, FireWork . (February):3.
  • Nellie J Brown. 2008. Book Review: Mogensen, V. 2006. (Ed.) Worker Safety Under Siege, Industrial and Labor Relations Review . 62(1):260 - 262.


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

Book Chapters

  • Nellie J Brown. 2021. Composting Safety and Health. in The Composting Handbook: Guidance for Farm, Municipal and Commercial Composters. United States: Elsevier Publishing, 2021. Rynk, R.. (43)
  • Nellie J Brown. 2010. COMPOSTING SAFETY AND HEALTH . Ithaca, NY, United States: NRAES, 2010. Rynk, R.. (Accepted)

Book Sections

  • Nellie J Brown, ILR Extension - retired Lampen, Nancy J: njl4. 2012. Crisis Management. in Encyclopedia of Human Resource Management and Workplace Policy. United States: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2012. (10)

Conference Proceedings

  • Carmi Orenstein, Chris Bateman-Mize, Nellie J Brown, . 2009. Development of a model of environmental translational research for cancer prevention., 2009.
  • Nellie J Brown, James Carrabba, Norman Roy Scott, Curt Andrews Gooch, Brian S Aldrich. 2008. Development and Implementation of Hazard Evaluation Protocols for On-Farm Anaerobic Digesters and Related Systems. University Park, PA, United States: National Institute of Farm Safety, 2008.

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

  • occupational stress. Presented to New York Library Association. Saratoga Springs, NY. 2023.
  • Health and safety issues of opioids in the workplace. Presented to COEM-WNY & Cornell Buffalo Co-Lab & Better Business Bureau & Erie County DOH. Cheektowaga, NY. 2023.
  • Why are opioids a workplace problem? . Presented to WNYCOSH & COEM-WNY & Cornell Buffalo Co-Lab & WNY AFL-CIO. webinar. 2023.
  • Vulnerability analysis. Presented to eCornell. Webinar. 2023.
  • Crisis management. Presented to eCornell. Webinar. 2022.
  • 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.


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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,