The William D. Wagner Award, established in 2003, is presented annually to a person in the field of national and international worker health and safety who is an outstanding example of commitment and dedication to the creation and dissemination of occupational exposure values (OEVs).
The 2018 recipient of the William D. Wagner Award is David Michaels, PhD.
Professor Michaels is an epidemiologist with extensive experience in research, regulatory and public policy, and program administration. From 2009 to January 2017, Dr. Michaels served as the United States Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. Appointed by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, Dr. Michaels was the longest serving Assistant Secretary in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s history.
As Assistant Secretary, Dr. Michaels worked to strengthen the agency's enforcement in high risk industries, improve OSHA’s whistleblower protection program, promote common sense worker protection programs and standards, expand compliance assistance provided to small employers, and increase outreach to the vulnerable populations who are at greatest risk for work-related injury and illness. He also increased OSHA’s focus and capabilities in the areas of data analysis and program evaluation.
Under his leadership, OSHA issued new health standards protecting workers exposed to silica and beryllium, and new safety regulations on fall protection, confined spaces, cranes and derricks, shipyards and electricity generation and distribution. Dr. Michaels updated OSHA’s injury and illness surveillance and tracking requirements, making workplace amputations and hospitalizations sentimental health events that now must be reported to OSHA.
Dr. Michaels has conducted epidemiologic studies on typographers, commercial pressmen, construction workers, bus drivers and paper workers, and served as research director of the National Sheet Metal Worker Asbestos Disease Data Base, involving more than 10,000 asbestos-exposed workers in the U.S. and Canada.
Dr. Michaels has authored numerous scientific publications and is a professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. He is a graduate of the City College of New York, and holds an MPH and PhD from Columbia University. His tireless efforts deem him a worthy recipient and it is with honor that ACGIH® awards him the 2018 William D. Wagner Award.