Leading Occupational Health & Safety Expert to Join NELP


Washington, DC
—The National Employment Law Project is pleased to announce that Deborah Berkowitz, one of the nation’s leading experts on worker health and safety issues, will be joining the NELP staff as a senior fellow for worker safety and health.

Berkowitz has a long and distinguished track record in the field of occupational safety and health. Most recently, she served as senior policy advisor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and previously served as OSHA’s chief of staff from 2009 to 2013.

At OSHA, Berkowitz worked on many key initiatives, including strengthening enforcement in high-risk industries, improving whistleblower protections, and expanding assistance and outreach to small businesses and worker populations at greatest risk for work-related injuries and illnesses.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Debbie will be joining NELP to develop our program in this area of such importance to low-wage workers, and we’re grateful to the Public Welfare Foundation for its support of this initiative,” said Christine Owens, NELP’s executive director. “Debbie is one of the giants in the field of occupational safety and health. She brings deep knowledge, unyielding tenacity, unflinching integrity, and profound compassion for working people. Her impact in this new role with NELP will be immediately felt.”

Before joining the public sector, Berkowitz spent a number of years building and leading worker safety and health programs inside the labor movement and with partner groups. Her past positions include health and safety director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (1989-1998) and health and safety specialist and then program director at the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO (1979-1989).

She is a graduate of Oberlin College and has earned numerous awards in her career, including the American Public Health Association’s Alice Hamilton Award, in recognition of her life-long achievements and dedication to improving the health and safety of America’s workers.


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